First I want to say that our prayers and thoughts are with those families who have been affected by killings, law enforcement and civilians. Observing all of the violence our country is seeing along with recent incidents in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas, it is time for our communities to unify.
Not only do black lives matter but all lives matter and it’s time we come together for the greater good of all citizens. I applaud Manatee Bridging the Gap for its efforts over the last two years in bringing the community and law enforcement together after incidents in Ferguson, New York, etc.. We have held several events throughout Manatee County where law enforcement officials and community have been working together to bridge the divide between community and law enforcement. We’ve held:
1. Community/law enforcement forums in Bradenton and Palmetto.
2. Monthly meetings with community leaders and law enforcement officials from the City of Palmetto, City of Bradenton and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
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3. Held an All-Star Football game between Manatee and Sarasota with law enforcement officials serving as head coaches of each team.
4. Rappin’ with the Chiefs event where youth wrote and performed their talents on their views of law enforcement.
5. Will hold a Youth Fishing Tournament where law enforcement officers will serve as volunteers.
Manatee County is truly blessed to have started the process to address the divide between community and law enforcement. It is when community and law enforcement come together that we will see a decrease in the senseless killings of young black men and boys as well as law enforcement officers.
We applaud and support our local law enforcement officials in Manatee County and the work they do in protecting and serving our communities. Without law enforcement, our communities will surely fall into ruins.