SILER CITY — This weekend will be a first for the Siler City Police Department: Chief Mike Wagner’s staff will be participating in Faith & Blue, an initiative designed to create engagement with the community through places of worship throughout town.
“This is the first time that our city is participating in it,” Wagner said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Faith & Blue was launched in 2020 to facilitate safer, stronger, more just and unified communities by directly enabling local partnerships among law enforcement professionals, residents, businesses and community groups through the connections of local faith-based organizations, according to its website.
Faith & Blue’s N.C. liason Bob Beard said the initiative has become an important event for law enforcement across the country.
“It’s a four-day event every year, always the first weekend in October,” Beard said. “Events could be anything from a town hall meeting to a panel discussion with youth about gun violence, and the consequences of it, or something like that.”
Siler City’s Faith & Blue events will be hosted at three churches in town — Corinth AME Zion Church on Friday, St. Julia’s Catholic Church on Saturday and First Presbyterian Church on Sunday.
Each church will have a different event. Corinth will host a question-and-answer forum with the police department; St. Julia’s will host a movie night, and First Presbyterian will host a phishing and scamming awareness panel targeted for senior citizens in the community.
Wagner said he feels it’s important to engage with the community through events such as Faith & Blue. Connecting with residents is crucial in providing fair policing and establishing trust within the town between police officers and citizens.
“I’m really looking forward to just engagement, and to grow the trust and to create that relationship with the community,” Wagner said. “I hope that everyone has the opportunity to meet with members of our department to understand our dynamics, but more importantly, for them to be for them to engage with us directly.”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.