Tuesday, February 02, 2016 12:41 PM

(Cocoa, FL)—Uniting local faith leaders with law enforcement and city leadership was the goal of a morning roundtable discussion hosted by the Cocoa Police Department Tuesday morning. More than a dozen local pastors and religious leaders joined Chief Mike Cantaloupe, City Manager John Titkanich, and members of the police department’s Community Resources Unit to discuss ways to work together to improve on existing programs and create new programs to reach more citizens. “In order to solve the problems and issues we face we have to get to the heart and soul of what is causing those issues and problems in the first place,” Chief Cantaloupe said. “Our faith leaders are doing a lot of good things in the community and it’s important for us to unite and partner with all of them in order to be more effective.”

The faith leaders came from various churches throughout the city that provide a variety of ministries and services. The city is currently working on a pilot program with one local church to help offenders effectively re-enter society primarily through job placement, but also through counseling, education and other programs. “We must do more to effect the positive changes we seek for our community,” Chief Cantaloupe added. “It’s about reaching our youth, our elderly, and everyone in between. It’s about being connected with each other so we can have a more comprehensive and coordinated approach.”

Tuesday’s roundtable discussion was the first step in creating an ongoing dialogue. Chief Cantaloupe and the city’s leadership plan to host regular meetings throughout the year.

Faith leaders from throughout Cocoa unite to discuss ways to partner with law enforcement and city leaders.