Law enforcement and community aim to build relationships

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - In an effort to strengthen community relations, the Roanoke City Police department held the first "Thankful Thursdays." It's a series of sessions where law enforcement and community members come together to talk about issues within the community and build relationships.

"I'm thankful and grateful for the sacred connections that we've all been gathered here to take part in," said Community leader Khalid Jones of Community Cultivators.

It's not exactly the most traditional way to kick off a meeting, but going around saying what each person is thankful for is all part of strengthening community relations with law enforcement.

"99-percent of all people are good people," Delegate Sam Rasoul. "99-percent of cops are great people. You know, we can't let a few bad actors on both sides divide our community."

With a packed room, all are looking to create friendships with those in uniform.

"It's overwhelming to see the support," said Officer Fatima Foster.

"We as a Hispanic community in Roanoke will be here for you," said Dr. Yolanda Puyana, a representative of the Hispanic community.

Puyana told us this series is a step moving forward to build trust and faith in law enforcement and to break down barriers.

"As a minority group we're a group of people more prone to get into trouble with the police because of a lot of immigration issue," said Puyana.

Puyana is looking to change that perception and like the others in the crowded room, help build a stronger city.