City of Arlington launches program to connect officers with church congregations

The city of Arlington has launched its 'One Cop' program to try to have officers better know the church congregations they serve. 

Several church leaders went through a series of mock police training exercises to get a feel for what officers experience every day.

The scenarios were fake, but participants say the emotions they felt were very real. 

The weapons were not real. There’s no ammo, and Arlington police officers helped guide participants. But the scenarios mimicked real-world police encounters.

Church leaders and city council members got behind the badge. 

"I found myself panicking a couple times myself thinking about real-life situations," said pastor Tanley Ferrell with Treasures of Excellence Ministries. "It’s very difficult. Not something I wanna do but something I have great respect for." 

Monday's event kicked off the One Cop program in Arlington, but the program is also trying to partner beat officers with churches, temples, mosques and synagogues in the area they patrol.

"You can’t wait until we have a crisis and then try to build a relationship," said Arlington Police Chief Al Jones.

All faiths are welcome. Program leaders wrote more than 500 invitations to each faith-based organization in the city to partner cops with church leaders, aiming to help communities come to a mutual understanding with law enforcement. 

"Those are pillars in the community everyone runs to when they need help," Jones said. "And if we can actually work together, we can get them the help they need while making Arlington safe. Because that’s what it’s about."