'QC Boots on the Ground' celebrates one year

Leaders say they've made progress, but still have a lot of work to do

By Krista Burris | kburris@whbf.com

Published 09/26 2016 06:27PM

Updated 09/26 2016 06:27PM

Quad Cities Boots on the Ground is celebrating their one year anniversary.
The group started after a rise in gun violence in Davenport last summer.
The group has hosted monthly meetings with the public and law enforcement.
The founder says their main goal has been to build better relationships with police. 
"This is where we held our first meeting in the fourth week of September of 2015," said Teague. 
Daniel Teague is one of the founders of Boots on the Ground.
He says they hold discussions with police and the public to help both sides better understand each other. 
"Our objective was to be consistent to let them know, we're out here, and we're not going no where. We're not a one hit wonder. When things are going on throughout the Quad Cities, throughout the country, we're already here in engaging it before the events take place," said Teague. 
Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski says they've had some tough discussions.
He says the department has benefited from Boots on the Ground.  
"One of the things that I've learned, that's important for us sometimes is to not be the deliverer of information, but to be there and sit to listen and to take seriously the voice of the community," said Sikorski. 
Mayor Frank Klipsch says he appreciates the work that the group does.
"I think it's important that we get people together, find out what we all believe in and build upon that, and I think Boots on the Ground has been one of those organizations that can do it," said Klipsch. 
Teague says the group also focuses on two other issues, aside from police relationships. 
"A lack of education opportunities, a lack of job opportunities. We run into this situation with returning citizens. After they've served their time in prison, and they come home, there's still biases and things against them, which is illegal, but they still run into certain situations in society," said Teague. 
Demitri Parker was released from prison a year ago.
He's since, started an Italian Ice business says Boots on the Ground has helped him keep his life on track. 
"Instead of me trying to go do it by myself, as an individual with a business, now I can be with men and women that's for the community and go into the community with them. That' my doorway into the community," said Parker.
The Quad Cities Boots on the Ground one year celebration at United Neighbors at 6:30.
A candlelight vigil to pray about issues in the community will start around 7:15.

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