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"Solidarity Weekend" to Better Bond Cops and Community

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Tom Flanigan
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Tallahassee has managed to avoid much of the conflict between police and the minority community that led to tragedy in places like Milwaukee and Dallas.  Now the upcoming “Solidarity Weekend” events are intended to keep the peace between local first responders and the neighborhoods they serve.

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Pastor R.B. Holmes says the weekend kicks off this Saturday with a “unity bar-b-que” in the parish’s Family Life Center.

“We’re having a police/people picnic where citizens and police sit together and eat together and dialogue together,” Holmes said during the event announcement in his church's sanctuary.

Standing with Holmes at Tuesday’s event announcement were nearly two dozen first responders, including Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood.

“Our community has avoided some of the upheaval other communities have had, but that’s not to suggest we can rest on that,” Wood remarked.

And Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo credited the ongoing police/community dialogue for keeping things relatively peaceful.

“We’ve been developing relationships with our community for a long time and that’s why when we’ve had incidents with officer-involved shootings or other things that have gone on, our communities are willing to continue to have relationships and have the conversation with us,” DeLeo said.

The event will conclude with a Solidarity Weekend Worship Service for the community and first responders at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Sunday at 11 a.m.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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