Police, clergy team up for trust program in Newark
Clergy members are teaming up with the Newark Police Department for a special program to rebuild trust between the public and law enforcement.
Three police cruisers have been painted yellow and marked as clergy patrol units. They are now on the streets between 4 p.m. and midnight.
"Police-clergy patrols are nothing new. The program was started years ago in Newark but fell victim to cutbacks in the police department," says imam Daud Haqq.
Haqq is putting his community connection to work, riding alongside Newark Police Detective Noemi Medina.
"When you put the clergy out in patrol with officers, I think it's the guardian part of policing, not every day are police officers warriors," says Newark public safety director Anthony Ambrose.
Haqq and the religious leaders of many faiths who volunteer for patrols do not respond to active crime or accident scenes, but provide support in the immediate aftermath.
"Even if someone is arrested, there's a family that's left there. As a pastor, you can get to that family and say 'look, what do you need, you're not alone,'" says Rev. Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth.
The hope is to build community and trust between the citizens of Newark and members of law enforcement.