Pasco Police Chief Meets with Church Leaders to Make Positive Ch - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pasco Police Chief Meets with Church Leaders to Make Positive Changes

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The Pasco Police Chief and church leaders are ready to make some changes. The group met at the officer's training center to go over issues in the community and what they can do together to make a difference. The Pasco Police Chief and church leaders are ready to make some changes. The group met at the officer's training center to go over issues in the community and what they can do together to make a difference.

PASCO, WA- The Pasco Police Chief and church leaders are ready to make some changes. The group met at the officer's training center to go over issues in the community and what they can do together to make a difference.

Today's two hour meeting was not their first, and they plan to keep them planned on a regular basis. "Part of what we found out in the police department is that our outreach was not as good as it could be," said Chief Metzger. Part of that lies within a communication barrier, the chief wants to have 5 or 6 new bilingual officers on the force in the next year. 

Metzger told those in the room he has done a lot of listening lately, and hopes this type of open meeting will draw more people in. Whether topics covered the amount of drugs being trafficked through Pasco, or dealing with mental illness, no one shied away from tough questions. 

"Heroin is making a comeback," along with meth use according to Chief Metzger, "the situations we've had are both mental health and you are right, meth is just huge."

"If you see kids or people coming and going (from drug or gang houses), let us know. That is our eyes and ears in the community. That is the part where we need the community's help, because we cannot see that driving down the road in a police car," said Chief Metzger.

Clergy members explained to the chief they are ready to help in any way they can, "We will pay them to go through the training and we will supply a couple people that you can use as resources. That is where we can really help with a need that cannot be filled," said Gail Andreas with the Pasco Church of the Nazarene. Even if that means putting volunteers through a 40 hour mental health specialized training.

According to Chief Metzger each officer has basic mental health training under their belt, but not all of the officers can attend extended training due to their busy schedules and obligations at work, "I can tell you we have just as many trained as any other department, in the true 40 hour training."

Other members brought the group back to a focus on younger generations, saying something even as small as getting them together for community service, could possibly inspire them to stay off the streets. "If you have ever been over to the Martin Luther King building, you would see it could use a paint job," explained Pastor Gordon Walsh of New Heritage Church.

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