Quarterly Faith Leaders Roundtable
February 21, 2017
The Quarterly Faith Leaders Roundtable was held at Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday morning. The meeting is an effort by Chief Mike Cantaloupe to join forces with those who have a significant sphere of influence in the community. More than a dozen pastors from local churches in and round Cocoa participated in the first quarterly meeting of the year. "We learned a lot about what our faith leaders are doing in our communities and we are building stronger partnerships with them," Chief Cantaloupe said. "We will be following up on all the information that was shared today."
During the near two-hour meeting Chief Cantaloupe shared an overview of activity since the last meeting. He noted a spike in shootings, vehicle burglaries and juvenile crimes during the last quarter of 2016. The chief shared the department's response which included regular pro-active enforcement details in the problem areas such as the Fiske corridor, north of SR 520. He also briefed the pastors about the department's new initiatives including Park, Walk and Talk, weekly Community Watch meetings and the department's new K9 "Copper" who will be used for tracking missing persons and community relations. The pastors also shared the activities they were involved in including upcoming events and building new partnerships with the police department and City to participate in those events. "We are excited about what's coming out of these meetings," Chief Cantaloupe added. "We are building stronger partnerships and it's going to have far reaching impacts in improving the quality of life for all of our residents."
The church leaders are working with the elderly to enhance assisted living facilities. They are working with single mothers and helping young people become responsible parents. Some of the churches are working with women, conducting street ministries, providing grief support to children who have lost fathers and/or other loved ones and bringing cultures together to educate and inform about current immigration issues that have left many with an unfounded fear of the police. "These are all very important programs and issues," Chief Cantaloupe noted. "We want to work with all of our residents to make sure they understand the facts behind everything that concerns them." Pastor Errol Beckford of Celebration Tabernacle stated, "It's awesome to see this group of people who care about the city. We now have open access to our police chief and city leaders. Together we can improve the city."