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Unity vigil held on police station steps - KOAM TV 7

Unity vigil held on police station steps

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Unrest between citizens and police officers this last week caused a stirring in the heart of Keenan Cortez. 

Cortez organized a unity prayer vigil on Sunday morning, held on the steps of the Clark Public Safety and Justice Center.

"We don't need to just be supportive of our first-responders in our community, our police force specifically. We need to come out and publicly show that to them so they can feel it and know we're behind them everyday," Cortez said.

About two dozen people, including a handful of on and off-duty Joplin police officers attended the vigil. Cortez spoke about having an open dialogue between citizens and officers to continue the good relationship Joplin has.

"Hopefully they got a little better understanding of the men and women who are out there on the front lines for us each and everyday. They've been able to stand next to them, hold hands with them, have a dialogue with them and know they're doing everything for us. That they're out there trying to protect us each and everyday. As one of the officers today said, to stand between us and the bad guys," Cortez said.

When asked if last week's events in Dallas made them not want to be an officer, unanimously the officers asked replied "no" and that they go about their jobs for their love of their community. Officers and citizens stood hand-in-hand, praying, communicating and understanding one another.

"Anytime we can get the community together and have an atmosphere of transparency and be able to discuss issues and care bout each other, that's the whole reason we come out and do our jobs is because we care about the community. And the community does care about first-responders," Sgt. Austin Wolf with Joplin police said.

Joplin officers continue to wear mourning badges on their uniforms.

"We need to come together with some transparencies so we can overcome this darkness that's in our land right now," Cortez said.

Following the vigil, attendees shook hands and said "thanks" to the officers in attendance.

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