KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A proactive approach is being taken in Kansas City, Missouri as tensions are high across the nation.
“Last summer was a big lesson for all of us and we're continually learning how to do this better and I really think this is a good step forward in bringing healing and trust in our community," Pastor Darron Edwards, with the United Believers Community Church, said.
Faith leaders told 41 Action News they hope that trust will prevent the scenes that occurred on the County Club Plaza following the death of George Floyd last year.
As the trial is nearing an end, faith leaders met with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department regarding the potential for protests once the verdict is read.
“We don't represent every faith institution or every faith group that is here in this city, but we stand together united to say that we want peace, we always want justice, but we want peace and we want calm," Pastor Cassandra Wainright, with the Concerned Clergy Coalition said.
Around 50 clergy members and KCPD officers, including KCPD Chief Rick Smith had open conversations on Friday.
The goal was to learn, understand and question what protests could look like.
“It is alright to protest peacefully, it is not alright to protest violently and cause destruction," Pastor Michael Phillips, with the Paradise Baptist Church, said.
That is the message faith leaders want to get across. Even going as far as assuring KCPD they will lead the protests if they happen.
“Whichever way the verdict goes, and I mean this affirmatively, watch how your faith leaders protest first, we've committed ourselves to modeling how this should look," Edwards said.
After meeting at the table, both KCPD and faith leaders are convinced changes have been made for the better.
“We have a new use of force policy, we have a new first amendment response policy, all of our officers are equipped with body cameras," KCPD Capt. Dave Jackson said.
Next week, KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, Chief Smith and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker plan to meet to continue the conversation.
“They believe how the police chief thinks, that we need to do what we do for one, we do for all, how we treat one, we treat all, how we arrest one, we arrest all for the same offense," Phillips said.