Faith helping to bridge the gap between police and the community in Alabama

Published: Jul. 23, 2016 at 2:49 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2016 at 1:03 PM CDT
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NORTHPORT, AL (WBRC) - As tensions rise between police and the community around the country, Alabama has seen peaceful protest.

Pastors and police in feel the area's strong faith is helping to bridge the gap with the community.

"At the recent prayer rally that we had there was an amazing amount of unity and the reason is, we were all there to worship and to call on God and at the feet of the cross then all those differences just dissolve," Pastor John Kearns of Christ Harbor United Methodist Church said.

Northport's Police Chief Gerald Burton has worked in many cities and says in Tuscaloosa County there's a lot of respect for law enforcement.

"The law enforcement has a lot of respect for the community too. It's just different than other place I've ever lived," Burton said.

Pastor Kearns says 20 years ago, pastors started coming together and praying for each other and the community. Eventually, local leaders, including law enforcement, joined them. Kearns says the faith foundation for peace was set many years ago.

"I think the prayers of pastors, the prayers of the people but also the faith of the officials have all helped to keep peace in our area," Kearns said.

Burton is keeping the faith and praying that continues.

"People calling us every day just everyday offering support. You can't go to a restaurant without the public walking up to you and saying thank you," Burton added.

Community leaders tell us people in Alabama are finding ways to learn from the racial division of the past and moving forward in a positive direction. Chief Burton and pastors tells us Alabama could be a model for peace for the country.

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