DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The Dayton Police Department is turning to an unlikely partnership to help keep the peace on city streets.
P.A.C.T., or Police and Clergy Together, is a new program aimed at bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.
Eighteen pastors from around the Dayton area are participating and hope to make an impact.
"There's no question this synergy will help reduce the distrust," said Bishop Mark McGuire with The Potter's House Dayton International Ministries. "Because we are community leaders, and hopefully trusted by our congregation, we are able then to not only talk about this process, but give an idea of what the police have to deal with on a daily basis to protect our streets".
Bishop said not only is the program a win-win for the community, but it was also a no-brainer for him get involved.
All the ministers had to apply to the program and are now going through ten weeks of training and police ride-alongs.
Once complete, the clergy will spend at least 16 hours a month riding with officers in cruisers and responding to scenes.
"I think from a police officer's standpoint, it's so important," said Major Brian Johns with the Dayton Police Department. "Sometimes when officers go to traffic crashes, or homicides, it's tough to deal with family when someone has lost a loved one. That's one great benefit of having the minister with the police during those sad times when someone loses their life. They are there to help with those situations".
The first group of ministers will graduate on October 11 and will immediately start serving.
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