CHURCHES LOOKING TO BRIDGE GAP BETWEEN RESIDENTS, POLICE

Friendship Baptist Church is working with the Tuscaloosa community to combat the negative impact of gun violence.

People are looking to local churches for help in the wake of multiple gun-related fatalities in Tuscaloosa this week. Tuscaloosa Police Investigator Dornell Cousette was shot and killed in the line of duty. Quinton Benson was shot and killed on 25th Street, and another victim was shot and killed late Wednesday.

The Rev. Bruce Henderson said Tuscaloosa needs to bridge the gap between police and residents.

“We have to educate our people and make a conversation between those two because one of the major problems they have is they think that the police is bad. There are some bad police. There are good police. There are bad citizens, and there’s some good citizens,” Henderson said.

Henderson and his congregation have held events meant to combat gun violence in the past.

Retired Tuscaloosa Police Officer Daryl Mckinstry said churches helping to curb crime can influence the amount of violence in an area. Mckinstry spear-headed a gun buyback several years ago, and multiple local churches participated in the initiative.

“It just takes money sometimes to help curb violence. We have the tip line just think if we had a tip line where they could call the church or call the pastor strictly confidential just like it would be just like it would be over the phone,” Mckinstry said.

Henderson said he hopes that other churches will create their own programs to address gun violence.

“One of the things I want to do is invite other churches, other pastors and other clergymen to come together. Non-denominations, just community-minded I want to get with our acting police chief our sheriff some other leaders in Tuscaloosa get them come and have a dialogue,” Henderson said.

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