WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Prayer change things. That’s the message from West Memphis Police after they hosted a city-wide unity prayer.
With heads bowed and eyes closed, the city is turning to faith to strengthen the bond between law enforcement and the community.
“We just want the people to understand that we are a God-fearing department now, and we are under the control of God,” said Mayor Marco McClendon.
This new initiative comes after city officials and police say they noticed distrust coming from the community, which has made it difficult for the agency to solve crimes.
“If we’re working against each other and no trust between each other, it’s gone be hard to get a lot of crime help, get a lot of information and get that down,” Officer Decorey Davis said.
In a move McClendon believes will build trust, the council recently agreed to purchase body worn cameras for officers. McClendon says the biggest challenge they face is changing the community’s perception of the police department.
“We want them to know that we are different from what we’ve done in the past, and what may have happened and what you may have thought have happened, it’s a new day here in West Memphis,” McClendon said.
As the community and police search for common ground, many are hoping that prayer is the one thing can unite this city.
“I know that prayer is a strength,” Davis said. “It’s a starting point even if you have the strongest faith, but it’s gone get you there.”