MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Hundreds of law enforcement professionals walked about a mile and a half Wednesday morning, ending at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
It was all part of the 42nd annual memorial march held by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Organizers said they hope members of the community will see their unity and work with them to help stop crime in their neighborhoods.
Nearly 800 people marched from the Calder Race Track to the church in Miami Gardens.
"We are pulling together to collaborate and cooperate so that we can make an impact in our communities," said Vera Bumpers, chief of Metro Transit Police in Houston.
The organization is made up of more than 3,000 international members, who are primarily African-American executive law enforcement professionals.
NOBLE members gathered this year to stress the importance of collaboration and unity between all levels of law enforcement and local communities.
"I want them to know that law enforcement is their friend and we're there to help them," said Timothy Belcher, president of NOBLE South Florida chapter. "Our focus is to make sure we build bridges...and the community."
Delma Noel-Pratt, chief of Miami Gardens police, said better community relations could help solve crimes.
"Maybe they'll see that we are together and say, 'You know what? I have information on this case or that case,' and say, 'I want to be part of the team,'" said
The city recently made headlines after Darin Williams, 27, was shot and killed while holding his 1-year-old son in what investigators said was an apparent drive-by shooting.
Fortunately, the toddler survived his injuries.
"His father had an aspiration to be a fireman, another public servant, so I am troubled by that," said Clarence Ecox III, national president of NOBLE.
The march was followed by a memorial service for law enforcement officials who died in the line of duty, as the leaders now work to find ways to prevent crimes and keep our communities safe.
"We find it necessary that we let our counties know that we, as black law enforcement leaders, we stand in the gap to try and prevent these senseless deaths," Ecox said.
Ecox said part of the reason they chose to hold their annual march in Miami Gardens is because of recent homicides and crime in the city.
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