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P.A.C. strives to improve community, police relations

admin | 2/15/2012, 7:27 a.m.

When groups of squad cars and an assembly of police officers are seen in the community, many people assume that the civil servants are on the scene to investigate a crime. However, for the men and women who serve in Miami Gardens Police Departments Captain Ed Martinezs unit, gathering at the New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church on Friday, Jan. 13th was part of an initiative to encourage positive relations between the community and police. Its a community-oriented concept, explained Martinez. We find that it is healthy way to partner with the community and in doing so we go to different places and hold our roll calls. Although the Miami Gardens Police Department has only held two roll calls at the New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church, Martinez noted that this was a popular initiative that had been done in several other locales since the department was founded over four years ago. Everybody is welcome to come and speak to the officers during the roll call, explained Martinez. Rev. Eric Readon, the senior pastor of New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church, said the church hosting the roll calls was another way to help meet People Against Crime or P.A.C.s goals. I wanted us to be more proactive in the community, so I decided to have a roll call at the church so that they are visible and so that the community can know that our [P.A.C. and Miami Gardens Police Departments] partnership is real, Readon explained. Founded in late 2011, in response to several violent incidents including a handful of police-related shootings involving Blacks, P.A.C. was created to help ease combat local crime and to help change the negative perception of police officers among the local community. Since it was created, the ministry has held a fundraiser for the family of Terrell Scott, who was fatally wounded in a burglary; and a New Years Eve Community Feeding that was also sponsored by the Miami Gardens Police Department. To date, the next roll call to be hosted by New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church has not been scheduled. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitiesonline.com