A group of ministers plan to arm themselves with Bibles and hit the streets in police cruisers to see first-hand the city's crime scene, so they can develop anti-crime strategies.
"The more we learn about the mind-set of the criminal element the better we'll be able to deal with the problems of crime and violence," said the Rev. Emmet C. Burns, of Rising Sun Baptist Church in Woodlawn.
A 10-member committee from the United Baptist Missionary Convention is to meet Feb. 12 to discuss the police ride-alongs. The meeting is slated for Lombard Middle School.
If the committee approves the plan, at least 20 ministers are to soon ride with police officers, Burns said. The ride-alongs grew out of a recent meeting between the ministers and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods. The meeting was held to discuss anti-crime strategies.
During the meeting, Woods described the ministers as "do-gooders" who don't understand the dynamics of crime, Burns said. Woods suggested that ministers ride with officers to get a better understanding of the crime problem, he said.
To discourage crime among youths, the ministers have visited 21 senior high schools to encourage students to avoid drugs.
"We want to come out of the pews and into the public," Burns said, adding that churches must become more active in fighting crime.