A black gospel church in Stockton decided to take a radically different approach to the politically charged relations between some members of the black community and police departments by inviting their local police to their Sunday service Dec. 21 and showing their appreciation.
Local NBC News affiliate KRCA interviewed Stockton’s Hilliard Chapel’s lead pastor, Darrell Williams, who said simply, “We forget all the great things that police officers do nationally and across the world. My goal today was to simply say, ‘You all matter.’ Since you matter, we’re going to celebrate why you matter to us.”
Chief Eric Jones, who is white, said gratefully, “What he’s doing, really, is something that’s bridging community and police trust.”
The service was designed to honor the police. Williams added that the service was “helping to look at police officers differently. The car said, ‘to protect and to serve.’ Well, let’s look at them again as servants.”
Jones pointed out: “Many times, we show up to something because it’s a negative event, and we want the community to see us in a positive light.”
The officers posed for some pictures with members of the community after the event and let the children examine some of the equipment they use.