Pastor to try to build trust between residents and law enforceme - WNEM TV 5

Pastor to try to build trust between residents and law enforcement

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A local pastor is hoping to reach out to those in his community and is pleading for unity during this time of tension.

"Have one of your officers speak to your congregation about the right way to respond and to interact with an officer and that way a lot of things that turn out poorly can be avoided," said Marvin Jennings, pastor of Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint.

Jennings is the former chaplain for the Flint police and the Genesee County Sheriff's Department.

As a man of God he said he is in constant prayer over the tragic events involving police and residents, like the incidents in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota.

"First and foremost, I would say that my heart goes out to those families and that the loss of life, whether in blue or in coveralls, that's a devastation to that family and it's a loss to the community," Jennings said.

This week the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus denounced the shootings in Dallas and called for unity. Flint House Rep. Sheldon Neeley is chairman of the group.

"We are on the verge of civil unrest. Those communities and those states that we are watching unfold with rallies and marches as it relates to race relation," Neeley said.

Jennings agrees. He said both sides need to do their part in building trust between the officers and the people they swore to protect.

"You were always taught that law enforcement was your partner, your pal, your protector. But from a black perspective, you knew that did not always apply," Jennings said.

On Sunday Jennings will make efforts to bridge the gap in Flint by inviting Sheriff Robert Pickell and Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson to address his congregation as to how to communicate with officers at all times.

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