The Goddard Police Department is partnering with local churches to host town halls in an effort to increase community engagement.
The partnerships come from the department’s participation in the Faith & Blue Weekend. It’s a national initiative aiming to strengthen community bonds by connecting local law enforcement agencies with faith-based groups in the communities they serve.
In Goddard, the police department is partnering with Pathway Church and Church of the Holy Spirit for hybrid town halls Sunday and Monday.
Police Chief Fred Farris says he wants to partner with the community to bring problem-solving through transparency.
“We’ve got great relationships with our community and the different faith groups within the city of Goddard,” Farris said. “This is just a really good opportunity to keep open discussion and open dialogue.”
Each local partner in the national initiative establishes a partnership with a faith-based group and plans an engagement event.
When Farris approached the two churches, they decided on the town halls. Each town hall has limited in-person options with social distancing in place. Both will be live-streamed online and take questions via social media.
“I’m not going into it with any major game plan other than just to be there,” Farris said. “[I want] to talk about our police department, what we do with the community, how we’re involved in those two particular faith communities and others, and how we can continue to build on that success,”
The town hall with Pathway Church takes place at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, and with Church of the Holy Spirit at 7 p.m. on Monday. Both in-person events will take place at Pathway Church.
David Garcia is an intern in the KMUW News Lab. He is a senior in Wichita State University's Elliott School of Communication.