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C.M. WALKER/Alachua County Today


Community members surrounding police and other first responders as they were led in prayer at the ceremony.


HIGH SPRINGS – Approximately 125 people joined the High Springs Police Department (HSPD) and other police officers and first responders in a joint community prayer assembly Saturday morning.

The group came together to offer prayers and acknowledge the work performed by all first responders who serve area residents 365 days a year.

HSPD Sergeant Adam Joy, who is also Associate Elder at Anderson Memorial Church of God in Christ, coordinated the gathering, which took place in front of the HSPD building. HSPD Chief Joel DeCoursey, HSPD Executive-Operations Lt. Antoine Sheppard, HSFD Chief Bruce Gillingham, and HSPD Chaplains Pastor Derek Lambert and Evangelist Jessica Hall spoke and offered prayers for police officers slain throughout the United States.

Speakers thanked the community for coming out in support of their police department and peace officers everywhere.

“Even though the recent incidences happened in cities far from Alachua County, we want to pray for all lives lost and morn for their families and friends,” said Joy. “We also want to wash peace and healing over them and over our local communities as well.

“We hope to inspire unity and peace to all area communities and foster a healthy relationship between the police and the citizens we have sworn to protect and serve,” he said.

One of the most moving tributes came from Chaplain Lambert, First Baptist Church of High Springs, as he read “What are Policemen Made of?” by Paul Harvey.

Near the end of the event, visitors joined hands and surrounded officers and first responders and joined in prayer. Following the event, people stayed to visit with each other, officers and other city officials.

In an effort to make sure everyone remained safe during the assembly, two HSPD police cars patrolled the area and another officer oversaw the event from his perch on top of the Community Center building.

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