Motor march

On Sept. 13, residents from North Georgia and the Tennessee Valley gathered at in the parking lot at the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office on U.S. Highway 41 in Ringgold, in support of the Sheriff’s Department and the Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold police departments for the “United We Stand Strong Motor March.” The parade of motorcycles and vehicles made its way through Fort Oglethorpe and gathered in front of the AMC Classic Battlefield 10 theaters’ parking lot on Battlefield Parkway.

Building the Blue Bridge was formed in July.

“We saw a need both immediate and long term, to assist our community in bridging the divide between them and law enforcement,” said Stacie Brasher, the group’s president. “We began to host rallies in support of law enforcement, reminding both ourselves, the officers, and their families what an important role they play in our lives and communities.

“We are committed to promoting the role law enforcement plays in our communities,” she said. “Our mission is to promote a healthy relationship between our law enforcement, first responders, and the community through open communication, training, and education programs. We want to accomplish this through offering programs in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area, including first responder trauma support programs, community roundtables, Cops in the Community.”

For more information about the group, visit the group’s website at www.unitedwestandstronger.com or contact Stacie Brasher at 423-380-8262.

Crisis support for first responders

Brasher said that initially the group wants to provide the First Responder Reboot program to area law enforcement and first responders.

“This is a twelve-week program that is offered free of charge to help work through first responder trauma,” Brasher said. “This is more than just a support group, this is meant to be engaging and provide the participants with tools that will help them deal with PTSD.

“Long-term I would like to eventually be able to branch out and be able to offer additional programming to first responder’s families. Sadly the current environment is shining a light on the fact that the officers’ families are dealing with the stress of having a loved one on the front line of danger but now the added stress of the negative current climate. This is especially difficult for children.”

Community roundtables

“When the entire community has access to fair and balanced information and joins together to address common concerns I believe they will develop solutions that will serve the common good and lead to healthier, more equitable communities,” Brasher said. “That’s the basis of the community roundtables.

“The concept would be to solicit members of the community to actively participate and lead these discussions along with the support from local law enforcement. The role of Building The Blue Bridge would just be to facilitate and to assist in the ‘solve’ phase as we work to implement any of the action items the group identified

Cops in the Community program

The program, Brasher said, “is designed to promote a healthy perception of our law enforcement and facilitates one-on-one mentoring opportunities with at-risk youth. In addition to the Mentor program, we will also work with the area schools to offer our ‘How to Get Pulled Over’ seminar, a program specifically for teenage new drivers 15-18 years old. It will cover: what side of the road you should pull to; what documentation you should have ready to hand to the officer; how you should behave; what you should not do; what the officer is looking for when they approach your car.”

As for the presenters. a member of the BTBB team will help facilitate along with the school resource officer or officer from the local police department, Brasher said.

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