MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There was a celebration at the Memphis Police Department Thursday night as they welcomed 59 new graduates of the Memphis Police Clergy Academy.
“Our ministers and clergy throughout the city, they touch so many people and it’s just an opportunity for us to sort of mobilize and help educate our community members to also find space to have conversations too,” said Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis.
The 59 graduates will now join 499 other program alum. They’ll not only work to make the city safer but to instill hope for a brighter future.
Evangelist LaRhonda Britt heard about this program from a member of her church in South Memphis. She knew immediately she wanted to be involved.
“A lot of people feel like no one loves them, so I want to show love. I want to show compassion. That’s our mission,” Britt said.
She went through the six-week, 12-hour curriculum to learn about some of the most common law enforcement and crime-related issues and what a clergy member’s role can be in making an impact.
“We have poverty, we have a lot of homeless, we have just a lot going around in our church area, violence, we hear guns all through the day when we’re at church, and so I’m willing to go out and bring in some projects that will make them understand that hey, we don’t have to go that way,” Britt said.
According to Chief Davis, that’s the goal — to have more feet on the ground when it comes to spreading positivity at a time when it’s so desperately needed.
“If we mobilize people who are like-minded, who want good for our community and partner with us to prevent crime, and really touch some of our young people before they get into a world of crime, then it’s a plus for everybody,” Davis said.
This was the 13th graduating class and Chief Davis said she hopes to see it continue to grow.