Team of faith announces partnership with law enforcement

Team of faith announces partnership with law enforcement

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Some situations are harder than most can imagine for police officers to respond to and mediate, much less investigate.

Now, local law enforcement agencies are getting the helping hand they need from people most will probably recognize.

On Wednesday, the clergy, or Crisis Action Team, met with police chiefs and officers, sheriffs, investigators, and the solicitor's office to discuss the new partnership.

While they may still be deciding on an official name, they do know one thing - they are here to make the community a better one.

Law enforcement representing nearly each town, city, and county along the Grand Strand stood behind the team of faith.

That team that has brought together 20 to 25 clergy partners in Myrtle Beach and upwards of 100 to 150 in Horry County. All of them are on board to help.

"What will these clergy members do? They will offer a ministry of presence to people who are angry and impatient for answers, rightfully so, and whose hearts are hurting in the event of a tragedy," said Cam Thomas, the associate pastor for the First Presbyterian Church and the chaplain for the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

A tragedy not too far away from the Grand Strand was the Charleston church shooting.

"We saw how that community came together around faith," Pastor Stephen Brown said. "People of faith, clergy were leading the charge along with law enforcement."

The team will respond by a request from the police agencies. The clergy members from where these incidents happen will be the ones on scene.

"There's always multiple sides of the story, so the clergy action team is not necessarily taking a side," Thomas said. "What we are doing is trying to find a point of reconciliation, or peace, in the midst of chaos."

When things happen in any given community, it's not just law enforcement trying to get to the bottom of it.

"When I see things that happen in my community, immediately I start asking questions," Brown said.

In many of these communities, people may be more likely to open up to someone they know through faith, or someone from their neighborhood.

"People are concerned about snitching and who is talking and who is sharing, but I believe if you earn the trust of your community and you're working hard to communicate with people, they will speak to you," Brown said. "They will talk to you, they will share things with you, because they believe that you are helping them and I believe that's the key."

Violent crimes won't be the only scenes this team of faith will respond to. They plan to have a presence at big weekend events coming up and hope to help solve other community issues, such as the heroin epidemic.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.