Lowcountry showing outpouring of support after Dallas tragedy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lowcountry showing outpouring of support after Dallas tragedy

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Communities in the Coastal Empire are feeling the impact as the world grieves the loss of the five Dallas officers, killed Thursday night during a protest.

People are shaken up, but most importantly, they're confused, trying to figure out why those officers were targeted and what in today's society would prompt such a shooting. 

During these times of tragedy, we see thousands of posts on social media, with many using the hashtag #Pray, whether it be for Orlando, Alton Sterling, or these Dallas police officers. 

We stopped into the Church of Palms in Okatie to speak with their pastor, because so often, we look for religious or spiritual guidance in times of tragedy, but most importantly, religious institutions are known for promoting love and unity - two things many people In our society can agree on is needed in today's world.

"All people of color are viewed as one way. All people in blue are viewed as the same. It saddens me that we don't see each other as brothers and sisters, as humans, and we kind of put them in boxes and labels and account everyone for being accountable for that," said Pastor Pete Bernston, Church of the Palms United Methodist. 

The Bluffton Police Chief says one way to prevent these kinds of incidents is by building a relationship with the communities they serve. He says it's about trusting one another and giving each other the chance to fulfill their roles in our communities.  He said its also important to have that intercommunication with other local law enforcement agencies.

The Bluffton Police Department received an outpouring of support from the community, who brought cookies, cakes and flowers to show their thanks to the officers for their service. The chief said the tragedy has brought about a lot of questions concerning preparation and healing. When we asked him if the department is prepared to handle a Dallas situation in Bluffton, he says it's impossible to prepare for something like this. 

"That's a good question, and one every time I see one of these incidents, I ask myself the same question. A lot of times we learn from them, we go to training and we get after actions on all these different events that happen across our country. How do you ever prepare? I don't know that any community is prepared to handle an Orlando or a Dallas," said Chief Joey Reynolds, Bluffton PD. 

That's where the department's chaplain comes in, who plays the role of a pastor for the department offering words of comfort, encouragement and guidance especially in a time of tragedy. The chaplain expressed the importance of community law enforcement relationships.

"It lends to, I guess, what you all the human equation where people are people just because I'm wearing a badge or a gun it doesn't make me less of a person are more diligent than you. We just have different jobs that we focus on and we focus on doing our jobs, and our lives and our families, police have families and children just like anyone else, and they have a job to do and they try to do it to the best of their ability,” said Chaplain Paul Hamilton, Bluffton PD.

The police chief said there's really no way to prepare for a situation like that, but that they use these tragedies as a lesson to better equip the department in case they ever have to respond to a mass shooting.

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