Douglas County sheriff speaks to church group after park dedicated to deputy Zachari Parrish

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Work has started on a park to honor the memory of a slain officer in Douglas County. 

Ground was broken on the Deputy Zackari S. Parrish III Memorial park in Castle Rock on Wednesday. The $2.6 million, 5-acre park will be located near Aspen View Academy.

Deputy Parrish was killed by a man with a history of mental problems while answering a call at an apartment complex off County Line Road on New Year's Eve last year.

Shortly after Wednesday's groundbreaking, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock talked about his belief that laws surrounding mental health need to be strengthened. He spoke at First Plymouth Congregational Church in Denver to a group called Colorado Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence. The group’s goal is to reduce deaths and injuries caused by the improper use of guns. 

"We do not believe that thoughts and prayers are enough. We believe that our prayers ave to be supported with action," member Alana Smart said

The organization’s members want to know more about gun safety measures in the upcoming election and legislative session. 

They asked Sheriff Spurlock to speak about his push to change laws that would give officers more authority in mental health cases.  Some describe it as a 'red flag' law. 

“We would be able to have some additional tools to help folks in mental crisis," Spurlock said.

The sheriff believes revising current laws would have helped save the life of Deputy Parrish.

The members, who come from 40 different congregations, say they support expanding mental health services to help save lives. 

They now plan to share the information with members in their respective congregations before the next election and legislative session. 

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