BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — The annual “Faith &Blue Weekend” came to an end, earlier tonight (Monday), in Baxter Springs.

A special celebration involving law enforcement.

“They’re seeing, and doing and smelling and maybe even tasting some of the most unimaginable things that human beings are not supposed to participate in. It is a calling and is certainly something that only a few can do,” said David Schepper, Joplin Police Department Chaplain.

He’s talking about the men and women in blue.

Those who run towards danger – when most wouldn’t.

“When somebody feels that it’s a calling, then they put their passion into it and they actually take pride in their job,” said Chief Brian Henderson, Baxter Springs Police Department.

Monday night’s “Faith & Blue” rally is part of a nationwide effort – curated to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the people who make up the communities they serve.

And in Southeast Kansas – that comes with the belief that being a police officer is not just a job.

“They want to do the best they can, because not only do they want to serve, not only do they want to make themselves better as a police officer, but they also want to protect the community and have that personal relationship with their people out here that we do serve,” said Henderson.

While the event has a religious component, the event comes with one main goal – making time for Southeast Kansas communities to unite with their local law enforcement – even outside of the uniform.

“This is designed to break down those official barriers and just get to know one another on a more personal basis because as law enforcement gets to know the community, the community gets to know law enforcement, that strengthens the bond and it benefits the community as a whole,” said Groves.

Because – as Sheriff Groves says – they aren’t just protecting their communities, they’re protecting their own families, too.

“They’ve chosen an occupation that is a buffer between good and bad. Law and lawlessness. And so, we all don’t like them, but we ought to appreciate them and their best efforts,” said Schepper.