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Coffee With a Cop ends with prayers and support


Coffee With a Cop is a national program that is designed to get law enforcement and the community in an informal environment to simply talk in a non-adversarial atmosphere. The program is only a few months old in Apopka, but today it took on new meaning – a chance for healing, prayer and support.

A sniper in Dallas shot and killed five police officers and injured seven others Thursday night. The sniper's motive was probably misguided retaliation to police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. There were several peaceful protests throughout the United States in response to those two events.

The Dallas police officers were not involved in those shootings. In fact they were there to protect the 800 protesters. They interacted, took photos with them, and tweeted positive messages from Dallas Police Department twitter accounts. It was a brief moment of harmony.

But then the shooter, armed with semi-automatic weapon and hidden in a garage began shooting at police officers.

This comes on the heels of the June 12th Pulse shootings where 49 people were killed and 53 more injured right here in Orlando.

The Dallas shooting was the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11. The Pulse shooting was the worst mass shooting in United States history.Coffee with a Cop

The nation as a whole is embroiled in these events, but in Apopka it was a time to come together in prayer and support for the police officers, first responders, and victims of this violence.

“We’ve had a rough week in the United States,” said Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer. “Events in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and in Dallas have all reminded us how we need to come together. And that’s what Apopka does well. And if you look around you’ll see leaders from the Apopka community, members of the Apopka Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. We need to come together and support one another for those that go out and protect us every day. And we need to make the point that people from all backgrounds, all faiths, and all racial backgrounds are welcome and deserve a place in our society.”

Apopka Police Chief Michael McKinley praised the men and women in law enforcement, and drilled down to the issue at hand.

“We are in challenging times and it would be easy for police officers to turn in their uniforms and quit, but regardless of the danger, they put their uniforms on and they serve and protect. Are there race issues in America? Absolutely there are. But what are the underlying causes of what’s going on in America? It’s our violence. And we need to get our young folks to communicate and not resort to violence.”

APD Chaplain Kevin Goza prays with APD Chief Michael McKinley. APD Chaplain Kevin Goza prays with APD Chief Michael McKinley.

Doug Bankson is an Apopka City Commissioner and also the Lead Pastor at Victory Church World Outreach Center in Apopka. He called for unity and prayer in the face of evil.

“It’s not that there’s not injustice. It’s not that we should turn a blind eye to injustice. But if we allow passion and emotion to arise, then we begin to tear each other apart. God hears and answers prayer and we need to come against the forces that would love to whisper in an ear that ‘you’ve been done wrong, and there’s the one that did it’. So let's keep our heart, let's keep our heads, and let’s come together as a city. Let’s pray for one another. We can have unity without compromising the things we might not agree on.”

Kevin Goza is the Lead Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Apopka, and is also a chaplain for the Apopka Police Department. He ended the event with a prayer, and asked the community and the attending pastors to do the same.

“As a local church pastor, it is an honor to be a chaplain for the Apopka Police Department," he said. "These things are happening far too frequently. We live in a broken world. We need to be vigilant. We need to be in prayer for these officers.”

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Apopka Police Department, Coffee With a Cop


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