Faith and Blue event fosters public relationships with first responders

Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 5:19 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - This year there have been a lot of conversations about how law enforcement agencies work and how to gain trust in their communities. Saturday’s Faith and Blue event in Kearney gave police and firefighters a chance to give people an up close look at what they do.

“The more chances we have to build relationships with the community the better for us, the better for them.” Sergeant Derek Luke said “We understand them better, they understand us better. It’s just a chance for open communication, nothing is off limits.”

For police, they are faced with some members of the community who may not trust them. The Kearney Police officers at the event were open to talk about anything to help teach people about their procedures. Officers said people most often ask why they did or did not do something when responding to a call.

“What we want them to know is that we are part of this community, we are human, we have questions and expectations,” Sgt. Luke said. “They have questions, they have expectations. It allows kids to come see the cars and not be worried about law enforcement.”

Kids were a major focus. They got to sit in the cruisers and fire trucks and even met a K-9 unit. First responders typically are only called when something bad happens, so they want kids to see them in a positive environment to show there is nothing to fear.

“We show all the little kids us putting on our gear with our mask and everything on so they’re not scared of us. They get a chance to see us as human beings behind all that stuff,” said Fire Inspector Terry Eirich, of the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department.

Earlier this year a Kearney group joined in national protests against police brutality. KPD said they have been able to talk to some of the protesters to build a relationship with them.

“We’ve actually had a couple," Said Sgt. Luke. "They’ve talked to us and we’ve had some good conversations with them. They actually thanked us for the way we handled them.”

Police and firemen alike said they want their communities to trust them and to know they’ll always be there to help. The event was put on along local churches who wanted to promote the positive connections with law enforcement.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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