INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- IMPD is hoping that one man’s trash can become community treasures.
The department is enlisting the help of local schools, organizations, and community members to help them collect plastic bottle caps that can be turned into “Peace Benches.”
“These peace benches will represent the relationship that officers and community have together, and they’ll be all across the city,” Chaplain Orlando Jordan Jr. said
Jordan says the campaign was borne as an idea to create better relationships with officers and the youth.
“The youth are not only our future, they’re our right now … in building relationships that have been frayed in the past, you have to start with our kids,” he said.
IMPD is currently in the throes of yet another violent year, with roughly 103 murders documented so far. Jordan believes strong relationships between the youth, and police can help to reduce those numbers.
“I just think that if we can try to do something different, intervene before a student or a child has a run in with the law, I believe we can set them up for greater success,” he said.
Supporters say the campaign also has the added benefit of teaching children the value of recycling and cleaning up the community.
“They’ve even started picking up bottle caps on the way to school. So, it’s been great and it’s helping the entire community,” Kevin McMahan, principal at Johnathan Jennings Elementary schools said.
McMahan added that the effort has become so popular his school may continue it even after the IMPD campaign is over with.
It will take roughly 350-400lbs of bottle caps to make one bench. IMPD is hoping to collect enough to make 7 benches. One to sit outside of each of the department’s 6 district headquarters, as well as their training academy.
Chaplain Jordan says he realizes plastic benches won’t automatically create a city-wide peace; however he hopes the initiative helps to play a role in strengthening the relationships that can.
“I hope that it lives up to its name and we have a higher level of peace in our streets and our communities,” Jordan said.