STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - This dinner of Statesboro police and local ministers didn't mark the end of a class as much as the beginning of a conversation.
The clergy completed a six-week Citizens Police Academy.
"By going through this class, we were enlightened to a lot of information that is very important because you've always heard there are two sides to every story," said Rev. Ronnie S. Tremble.
They saw some of the life-and-death choices officers must face, by way of a shooting simulator. The class sometimes focused on how and why officers may use force against a suspect.
"There were some tough conversations. But they were necessary for there to be understanding from both sides," said Statesboro Police Department Interim Chief Rob Bryan.
They've talked about the protests and violence in other parts of the country in response to shootings, those ruled as justified and others.
Bryan hopes ministers will hold them accountable if something happens here, but will also be facilitators of reason to help community members see an officer's perspective.
Pastors here say their role in the community reaches beyond the pulpit.
"We stepped up to the plate to do what God asks us to do because The Bible says we our brother's keeper," said Rev. Tremble.
Both groups hope the class helps them strengthen the community before any crisis threatens to pull it apart.
The ministers may have graduated and gotten their certificates, but they have one last homework assignment: Help recruit one person each to take part in the next Citizens Academy.