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Local pastor to host community anti-gang, traffic stop event

Salisbury Pastor Russell Smyre has partnered with the Salisbury Police to host an anti-gang event and community relations seminar focusing on traffic stop procedures.

Smyre, who is pastor of the Father’s House of Glory, said he believes if the community were educated about police traffic stop procedures, it could prevent a lot of unnecessary incidents.

“It’s a great way to build relationships with the police and a good way to educate our youth,” Smyre said.

Smyre and his wife have four adult children, whom they’ve had conversations with, but say the reality is most people don’t get a set of instructions of what to do and what not to do during a traffic stop.

“A lot of times what we see is only on the news,” he said.

The event begins at 2 p.m., on Jan. 17 at his church, The Father’s House of Glory, 2218 Statesville Blvd. His target age group is 15 to 25 years old. Salisbury Police Community Relations Officer Reuben Ijames will be at the event.

He said there will be interactive workshops and parents are encouraged to bring their children.

“A lack of education in those areas sometimes cause us to react in the wrong way,” Smyre said.

Smyre was inspired by his nephew, who was stopped and arrested by law enforcement. He admits his nephew didn’t handle the situation in the proper manner, but the outcome was favorable.

“I don’t think either party was in the right or the wrong. He was fortunate that he learned from it,” Smyre said.

“He’s a good kid. He’s getting ready to go into the military next month,” the Salisbury native said.

Not all incidents end as well as it did for his nephew, and the pastor said he hopes the workshops  will help build a positive relationship with the police department and educate the youth.

Smyre, who works at Livingstone College, said mentoring is so important and his focus is on young men who don’t have a father figure in their lives.

Smyre said just a little investment in the youth will bring about a great return.

He is also looking for community partners — churches, coaches and educators to assist with the event. Even if churches would just announce the event during a service, Smyre said it would be a big help.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with the event or participate in a skit or other activities are asked to contact Russell Smyre at 704-506-6145 or email him at russellsmyre@gmail.com.




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