HARTSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) – The City of Hartsville Police Department and the Greater Hartsville Ministerial Alliance partnered Saturday to start a new community outreach initiative.
The initiative is called EMPOWER, Employing Ministry and Police to Overcome Walls and End Racism.
Local pastors and their congregation want to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, particularly the African American community.
Jaye Gullett, Hartsville Police Community Liaison Office explained, “It is no secret that there is definitely a strain throughout the nation between the relationship of police officers and the African American community. There have been some pretty unfortunate situations that have happened. Everyday it’s our goal to soften that. [We want] to let the community know that those are isolated situations and that we are here. We are hands on. We are available. Our eyes are open. Our ears are open. Most importantly, our hearts are open.”
Pastors of the Ministerial Alliance contacted the City Manager, Natalie Zeigler and assistant Mary Catherine Farrell with the idea. The Ministry and the City manager’s office worked together to develop the project idea. Then partnered with the Hartsville Police Community Outreach Division.
Pastor Christopher Morgan, Head of the Greater Hartsville Ministerial Alliance said misconceptions of law enforcement have created fear among young African Americans. The alliance wants to create healthy relationships as a preventive measure in the City of Hartsville.
Saturday, EMPOWER boarded windows and doors of an abandoned home.
Morgan explained, “It’s the right thing to do. It will behoove all of us to work together. It brings out the best of us. It creates opportunities to foster relationships. [This initiative will] create alliances and networks between officers and the citizens because ultimately law enforcement can’t do their jobs without the community assisting.”
The EMPOWER initiative will take on more projects as they come available. If you live near an abandoned property and would like it to be boarded contact the City Manager’s office at 843-383-3015.