North Georgia nonprofit Building the Blue Bridge hopes to close gap between citizens and law enforcement

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Building the Blue Bridge founder Stacie Brasher, right, reads the names of Georgia police officers who have died, as Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Pro Tem Paula Stinnett rings a bell during the Honoring Those Who Serve event hosted by Building the Blue Bridge at Honor Park on Saturday, May 15, 2021 in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

When Stacie Brasher saw the protests and riots happening in Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer last May, the scenes from the city where she'd lived for six years were all too familiar.

"Having lived in that area and seeing the pain of my former neighbors and friends, it just really impacted me, and I saw a lot of people hurting on both sides," Brasher said.

That led her to want to do something to help bring citizens and law enforcement together in her current community of Ringgold, Georgia, where she founded the nonprofit organization Building the Blue Bridge.

"I decided to start this nonprofit that would offer programs that would give the opportunity to both law enforcement and first responders as well as to the community to come together and find a way to bridge the gap that's been created," she said.