GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A local minister's alliance wants to combat violence in South Mississippi communities, leading them to team up with the Gulfport and Biloxi police departments to try and find a solution.
"And let them see that the police is not our enemy," said Minister Travis Anderson.
Pastors and law enforcement officials took turns brainstorming ways to tackle the issue on Saturday, realizing it won't be an easy task.
"The big challenge is really going to be how can we really interact with the parents. Not only the parents, but those the children," said Minister Eric Dickey.
"What's missing is the direction and guidance that you get at home," said Sgt. Damon McDaniel of the Gulfport Police Department.
Pastors say they need to do a better job of reaching outside of the church.
"The effort has to be more in the community, and reaching people where they are," said Anderson.
Police say working with the alliance has a promising future.
"That collective wisdom we get to partner with and start addressing problems, and that's exciting," said Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania.
Following the meeting, most say they feel confident that something great is in the works, although it won't be an overnight fix.
"It's going to take more than just the one time sit down meeting like today," said McDaniel. "It's gonna take several meetings, it's going to take a lot of dialogue, its going to take a few meeting to come up with not just one thing, but a few things."
The ministers and police exchanged information and plan on meeting again in the next couple of weeks.
The minister's alliance also wants to work on providing workforce development and mentorship to at-risk youth.
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