(STL.News) – The Grand Rapids Police Department and local neighborhood groups took part in a National Faith and Blue Weekend aimed at connecting law enforcement officers with people in the community. On Saturday October 10, 2020, more than 30 volunteers from GRPD, Walker Police Department, the U.S. Department of Justice, and local community organizations took part in a volunteer event in the West Grand neighborhood. Police officers, members of the West Grand community, and local business leaders came together to help clean up Indian Mill Creek. The volunteers were then treated to a lunch at Long Road Distillers on Leonard Street, sponsored by the West Grand Neighborhood Organization.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge and Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator Erin Lane welcomed attendees, including those from his office. The Walker Police Department Chaplain Tom Bradley, said a prayer before lunch and talked about the importance of strong community and police relationships. He told the volunteers that “faith people and law enforcement have more in common than I ever thought. In our own ways, we both strive to make our community a better place for everyone that lives here.” GRPD Deputy Chief Scott Rifenberg also addressed the crowd, acknowledging that law enforcement is “a calling” to protect and serve. He expressed appreciation for the opportunity to volunteer alongside members of the community that he and his officers serve.
The National Faith and Blue Weekend (October 10-12) is a collaborative initaitve that builds bridges and breaks down biases through activities and outreach amongst law enforcement professionals and the communities that they serves. Steepletown Neighborhood Services, the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, and the Grand Rapids Police Department sponsored the October 10 event.