MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - One Midland church is holding a back to school bash called Cops, Kids and Barbecue.
Mt. Moriah Disciples of Christ's event gives families and children the chance to celebrate before heading back to school. The church gave school supplies to the kids and also honored Midland Police Chief Price Robinson on his retirement from the Midland Police Department. But there's a deeper reason why church Pastor Dennis Hodge says he holds this event.
"I used to be on the other side of the law," said Hodge. "I used to be one of the ones he [Robinson] used to chase after. In 1993, I rededicated my life to the Lord. I came home from prison in 98, and I've been serving the Lord. Chief Robinson and I became friends on the other side of the law since then."
The church has held a back to school bash for the past eight years but Hodge decided to change it up this year.
"Last year, the Lord laid on my heart with the stuff going on with the police around the country, to build a relationship between our law enforcement and our community," said Hodge. "To let the kids know they can respect the police, the law enforcement officers that you don't have to be afraid of them. Officers aren't just coming in to the community to make an arrest, but build a relationship."
Chief Robinson said even though he's retiring from the department, he will serve as an interim until they find a new chief. Even though he's saying goodbye as a chief, he'll be around and said he will be back for next year's Cops, Kids and Barbecue.
"These people here are just great," Robinson said. "Just the support for the kids and starting of school and police, you got to work on that relationship all the time, police and community. You can't take it for granted and say 'Oh, it's good.' You got to continuously work on it."
"All people are not drug addicts and criminals and stuff, some just fell on hard times," said Hodge. "People can change their lives and I'm a prime example of it. There's still hope for everyone."