Inaugural Faith and Blue Weekend conducted in Jackson County


The nation’s inaugural Faith and Blue Weekend kicked off last Saturday.

Jackson County was only one of six counties in Indiana that participated in the event.

Steve Greene, lead pastor of The Point in Seymour, said he expects those numbers to grow over the course of the next few years.

“The Faith and Blue initiative is new this year, and we had been talking about doing something to recognize officers because of all the unrest that’s going on in the nation,” Greene said. “I ran into Rick Meyer one day, and he had recently heard about Faith and Blue, so it was a match made in heaven, and we decided to go ahead with hosting it as part of The Point’s #ForSeymour campaign this month.”

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The purpose of Faith and Blue is to bring law enforcement and faith-based communities together with the goal of building mutual respect and understanding.

Greene said law enforcement and faith institutions are key pillars of each community, and when they work together, neighborhoods thrive.

Local activities began Saturday morning with the National Faith and Blue 5K walk/run, which started at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School.

Meyer, the sheriff of Jackson County, helped organize and participated in the 5K.

On Meyer’s Facebook page, he thanked all who participated or volunteered for the event and was happy to announce he survived the 5K, running the whole time.

Faith and Blue Weekend continued the following day and was sponsored by The Point. In the church’s parking lot, community members met officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Seymour Police Department.

Attendees of all ages had the opportunity to interact with the law enforcement officers and examine their vehicles firsthand, including SWAT and utility terrain vehicles. Also, drone demonstrations took place, and K-9 and his handler were there.

Tacos Mi Casita Taco Joint, Rolling Pig Pin Bakery and Junkyard BBQ food trucks were at the event, and there were activities and prizes for kids.

Before the outdoor activities started Sunday morning, Meyer and Seymour Police Chief Bryant Lucas participated in both church services at The Point.

Greene introduced them and asked the men a few questions so the congregation could learn more about them.

Lucas said he has been in law enforcement for nearly 33 years and started in high school when he worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a laborer.

“I took that path and became a conservation officer and did that for 27½ years, and then I ended up here in Seymour,” he said. “My primary goal is to provide safety to people, and that’s what really got me into the calling.”

Lucas said every member of the police department, whether it be officers, dispatchers or records clerks, are all members of the community.

“So if you see them, just treat them like you do the rest of the community. That’s what they want,” he said. “Law enforcement officers just want to be there to help, and they want to feel included, so if you see them, talk to them. They’re not scary, and they really want to engage with all of the citizens of the community.”

Meyer said he has been in law enforcement about 20 years and recalls when he started getting interested in that line of work.

“Looking back, I remember the TV show ‘CHiPs’ with Ponch and Jon, and I was always Jon and my little cousin was Ponch,” Meyer said. “As kids, we’d be riding our bicycles and pretending like there were calls, and our bicycles were obviously our motorcycles.”

When he grew older, Meyer said he and his friends used to chase each other around Seymour, but now, one of those friends is an FBI agent, so he guesses they’ve turned out OK.

“I just enjoy it, it’s in my blood and it’s an adrenaline rush and I still enjoy it,” Meyer said.

He said he takes a lot of pride in being a law enforcement officer and doesn’t want to see anybody taken advantage of or stolen from.

“I’ve had to work a lot of night shifts in my career while most people were sleeping,” Meyer said. “I just wanted to protect those people while they were sleeping.”

Members of the Seymour Police Department who helped at the Faith and Blue event were Officer Jeremy Helmsing, Lt. Brandon White and the K-9 unit.

Sheriff’s department representatives included Chief Deputy Dustin Steward, Sgt. Ben Rudolph, Detective Bob Lucas, officers Zach Elliott and Justin Amos, reserve officers John Hinton and Joe Francis and Special Deputy/School Resource Officer Jack Hauer.

Ryan and Mia Snowley brought their children to the event. One of the things they all enjoyed was talking to White and learning about the armored vehicle he had there.

Asa Snowley, 7, said he learned the vehicle was bulletproof, while his older sister, Anna, said she thought it was cool that the armor was all metal.

Amanda Jones was there with her children, Jordyn, Aniyah and Aaliyah.

“My daughter’s favorite question to ask the officers was about the doughnuts,” Amanda said. “They told her that back in the day, the policemen used to meet at the coffee shops.”

Renee Bogard and her mother, Wilma Bolton, listened to Bob Lucas explain some of the procedures of crime scene investigation.

Bogard said she loved it when Lucas told them crimes do not get solved in one hour like on the “CSI” TV show.

Amanda Wolf was at the event with her husband, Ernie Wolf, and her nephew, Nicholas Hancock.

“I think it’s awesome for the community to have the Faith and Blue event,” Amanda said. “I’m learning a ton about what they do and what our county and city officers do to keep us safe. It’s fantastic.”

Chrissy Hubers was a volunteer at the event helping at the children’s activities table.

“The kids are receiving an activity sheet as they come in, and then they go around and ask the officers questions to get to know them,” Hubers said. “Once they do that, they come back and get a goody bag, and we have coloring sheets they can color and take to an officer to say thanks for their service.”

Meyer said having an event like Faith and Blue is very encouraging for the community and mentioned several areas in which law enforcement could use prayers.

“Just pray to give us wisdom, pray to give us decision-making abilities and pray that after we go to a really terrible call that we can refocus and take care of something simple and pray for our families,” Meyer said.

“We’re out there at night while your families are sleeping, and the last thing our families want is to get that call that something’s happened to one of us,” he said. “Continue to pray for us, and we’ll take all the prayers we can get.”

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