(Memphis) A Raleigh church took part of their Sunday service to honor police officers and sheriff’s deputies who keep them safe.
Patrick Townsend, a member of the Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, had the idea when he saw a lot of news coverage on officers who were arrested, or officer-involved shootings. He said he felt the community should show their support.
“It's a thankless job. You have to do it, they have to have you there, but the thank you's I wasn't seeing,” Townsend said.
On Sunday, Pastor Noah Alexander preached about the sacrifice of the officers, particularly those from the Old Allen precinct who serve their community.
“They look for the people that we're trying to avoid. They're out there with their lives, to protect our lives. And there really is no greater sacrifice,” Alexander said.
Children took turns shaking hands or giving hugs to the officers who came to the ceremony. Church members told stories of how police have helped them in the past, from small gestures to major investigations.
They acknowledged how hard it must be to wake up every day, not knowing if one would return home safely.
In particular, Alexander cited the ultimate sacrifice of Officer Martoiya Lang, killed while serving a search warrant.
“She put her life on the line. That was taken from her and her children,” he said.
Townsend said he hoped this event would be part of a relationship where police and church groups could work as a team to curb crime.
“I feel like they need to know, that this church, and other churches, we aren’t saying get the guns off the streets. We're going to help you. We can work together,” Townsend said.