DeSoto Police and clergy organizations mark first full year of operation
What is the role of the police in our community? To fight crime! What about those crimes that are family violence? They occur inside our homes among family members; husband vs. wife, child vs. parent, etc. And fights among our children? The police cannot prevent these crimes. They are called to restore order and enforce the law once the crime has been committed.
In 2009, there were 84 aggravated assaults in De Soto. 61 percent of these crimes were the result of family violence. A police force can only be effective if they are working together with the community.
A coalition has been formed between the DeSoto police and the ministers who live in DeSoto or serve citizens in our community. DeSoto Police and Clergy, DPAC, was formed to help our community address the root cause of family violence rather than just the symptoms.
“This coalition is not a new idea, it has been implemented in other cities and communities across the United States”, according to DeSoto Mayor Pro Tem Denise Valentine. “I learned about the program by attending a workshop in Fort Worth given by leaders of the organization called Uniting Clergy and Police”, said Valentine.
Rev. Oscar Epps, pastor of Community Missionary Baptist Church in DeSoto and DeSoto Police Chief Mike Brodnax subsequently met with the Fort Worth coalition and created the DeSoto alliance customizing it to match the needs of our community.
The ministers attend formal training similar to the curriculum for Citizen Police Academy. The training sessions ensure that the ministers understand the policies and procedures of the police department. Ministers also share information about the ministries available through their own churches. Some have programs in place to provide counseling for family violence and alcohol and drug rehabilitation. They also have special outreach ministries for our youth. The sessions are an opportunity to exchange information and forge a solid working relationship.
Through this coalition with the police department, ministers from various faith groups are volunteering to be “on call” when a family member, victim or perpetrator, requests ministerial counseling. DeSoto Police and Clergy (DPAC) can be called in to provide ministerial counseling for family violence situations, car accidents, or disruptive behavior among our adolescents. You will also see them at athletic events and other public gatherings.
The DPAC program will mark its first full year of operation in April. They look forward to growing the program by increasing the number of ministers involved and invite any ministers in the DeSoto area to join them at the DeSoto Police Department on April 20, 2011 at 9:30 am for a special celebration of the program. They will spend the first half hour reviewing the program and celebrating its accomplishments followed by a tour of the DeSoto Jail which houses inmates for DeSoto, Lancaster and Cedar Hill. If you’d like more information about the DPAC program please call the DeSoto Police Department at 469-658-3000.