NAACP and FBI Join Forces to Educate Community

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive): The Fort Wayne chapter of the NAACP, and the FBI Indianapolis Division joined forces to take one step closer to arming the community against violence.

The NAACP and FBI held a public seminar in response to the recent rash of shootings in the city Monday afternoon. The discussion centered around what the FBI calls CREST, or Community Relations Executive Seminar Training.

FBI agents shared with the Fort Wayne community policies and procedures of the Department of Justice, the investigative priorities of the FBI, and how they operate.

“It was time for the community to receive education as it pertains to law enforcement, what is their role and how can they serve and work together to combat the crime, especially the gun violence that is beseeching our city right now,” said Rev. Dr. Saharra Bledsoe, President of the Fort Wayne NAACP.

Agents also addressed the specific crime issues of Fort Wayne and held an extensive question and answer session.

Rev. Dr. Bledsoe says the purpose of Monday’s seminar was to arm the community with knowledge on how to better respond and work with law enforcement.

“You know, so often we think that police are not our friends. And what they [the community] need to know is that even our local police answer to someone. It will give our community the opportunity to know that we are not alone,” she said.

Both the NAACP and the FBI agree that community is key when it comes to solving and preventing crime.

“I would like to see the involvement from both sides, the community and law enforcement, to come together in these types of events and occasions where we can come together and listen and educate one another, and sit down at the table of solution and recognize that it takes everyone not just one somebody,” said Rev. Dr. Bledsoe.

“We need significant community assistance to solve any significant crime problem…This is your FBI,” said Robert Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis Division. “We work for you at the end of the day. If you have a significant crime issue in your community and that information needs to come to your state partners, your federal partners, your local partners we will work with you to address those crime problems.”

Special Agent Jones says the FBI has 230 Safe Streets Task Forces across the country, including a partnership with the Fort Wayne Police Department. The Safe Streets Task Force deals with street gangs and drug-related violence.