DHS, DOJ partner with community group to tackle rise in gun violence

WASHINGTON — Federal and local law enforcement agencies are working with faith leaders to tackle gun violence nationwide.

This comes after Congress passed new gun safety legislation, though police reform proposals have stalled at the federal level.

On Tuesday, it was a different show of force in Washington, D.C., with leaders from dozens of police agencies standing with community leaders.

“Communities of color like every other community want to be policed with fairness and justice,” said Rev. Markel Hutchins, chairman and CEO of the community group, MovementForward Inc.

Following national protests calling for police accountability, MovementForward Inc. launched the National Faith and Blue Weekend in 2020.

Hutchins said it’s become the nation’s largest collaborative community-police engagement initiative with 3,000 events hosted nationwide over the last two years.

He’s now calling for more police departments and faith groups to join them this year.

“We need more resources focused on mental health. We need more resources focused on alternatives to incarceration,” said Hutchins.

Congress has tried before to address police-community relations at the federal level.

Last year, the House passed a bill named after George Floyd that aimed to stop racial profiling by police and increase accountability over police misconduct. But the bill failed in the Senate.

The Department of Homeland Security said it’s building trust by sharing more intelligence with police and the public.

“The reality is that we can only strengthen and rebuild the bonds of trust by our actions,” said Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.

This includes working with more faith-based groups and schools to help prevent violence.

“We need to work as a community to address the threats to our community trust is essential to our success,” said Mayorkas.

MovementForward said this nationwide effort includes forums and town halls, peace and unity marches, and other activities that focus on problem-solving.

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