Round Rock Community Awareness Expo

The members of the One Way Baptist Church in Round Rock are on a mission to teach the young members of their church and the community not to be afraid.

"We don't want our young people to be afraid of our police department." Pastor Bernard Buhl said, "I think there is a sense of fear in terms of thinking that all policeman and law enforcement is bad and I know that not to be true here in our community."

In an effort to help break down those walls of fear, the church reached out to the Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock Fire Department and EMS to hold a community rally.

"We want the community to know what their police department is all about and be transparent to our community," Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said. "That way if there is an incident, a question, a concern, they know that they have an open door."

That door was wide open on February 13 as police officers and the community spent the afternoon together. It allowed both sides to drop their guard and gave each side a chance get to know each other.

"There was an openness to want to come out and be able to get a clear understanding, clarity in terms of how communication can continuously be open," Pastor Buhl said.

It was also a chance for community members to see and touch some of the tools that are used to protect them. But the most important part of the day was learning just how valuable a strong relationship between both sides can be.

"This is a partnership." Chief Banks said. "It's not just the police department versus the community, it's the police department and the community together to make this a wonderful community to live in. They are our eyes and ears in the streets, we are their support as well and we do it together," Banks said.

Although there is still a lot of work left to do, Pastor Buhl said this is a step in the direction towards a brighter future for the Round Rock community.

"I just hope at the end of the day, we'll be able to understand that law enforcement is here for us and we want to be as respectful to them, to try and provide them with a service that we know goes hand-in-hand," Buhl said.

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