New Britain police graduated their first ever Police-Faith-Community Academy class Thursday.
The program is designed to show clergy how policing works and what officers face on the job. The first class included clergy from all denominations across the city and several dozen people participated. Police said the idea is to engage the community and get a new perspective.
“Certainly it’s our hope to engage with the entire community and when you think about the faith-based community, it’s grassroots. The reach is just so powerful,” said New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell.
Members of the clergy said the academy was helpful and gave them a new appreciation for what police deal with in the community.
“Certainly to bridge the divide, to give us more understanding, certainly to create relationships because I think in order for policing to work and our community to work it requires good relationships,” said Pastor Thomas Mills of Grace CME Church.
"Even with all the things that are going on right now i think here in New Britain we have something special," he added.
The 12-week program hosted classes every Thursday and after the first run’s success, police plan to continue.
“Having these types of partnerships, these types of relationships, this type of open dialogue, just goes so far to making a better police department and safer community,” Wardwell said.