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National Night Out Brings Police and Communities Together

Hokpinton photo

Hokpinton police focus on children's safety and outreach programs.

It’s no secret that there is a strained relationship between police departments and some communities in the nation today. But National Night Out, which took place on August 2 in more than 16,000 communities nationwide, works towards promoting police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to help make our neighborhoods safer and better places to live. From yesterday’s events, here are what several community leaders have to say about police-community relations, use of force, and the importance of National Night Out in their community.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

In a conversation with ICMA member, Tom Bonfield, city manager of Durham, he notes, "We think it is very important to foster improved community relations highlighted by improved police/community relations [and] that the police department, elected officials, and the city leadership need to be visibly together participating with the community in NNO events to meet residents in their communities and on an informal and personal level to build trust but also to show police officers that city elected and administrative leadership are with them in building the community trust and relationships.  We also emphasize our interest in having NNO type events occur throughout the year." 

JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS

Merriam Police Chief Michael Daniels told fox4kc.com that the underlying thing everyone wants to talk about is police use of force and officers, and how they feel about the conditions they work in and do they feel safe. Residents, some of whom said they came to the event with negative feelings about police and institutional racism, said they left with full stomachs, and a better sense of the issues cops face.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE

Police Chief David Mara noted to nh1.com that National Night Out is to raise awareness for crime prevention, but more importantly, it's a good way for police to get out there and meet the people in the neighborhoods and it's a good way to interact with them outside of a time of need.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Arthur Soriano, from a Youth Empowerment Group in City Heights, California told nbcsandiego.com that with the last two tragic situations that just happened currently, by the community coming together and showing the symbol of peace, love and hope is how we could cure, heal from our wounds and make things happen in a good manner. Soriano said the event represented a "civic engagement" where police and the community could come together and work through differences.

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA

Police Chief Jeff Goldman spoke with cbs12.com reporters and explained that an essential component to keeping its community safe and drug-free is building a strong relationship between police and the community they serve and he’s proud to work in a city that does this better than most. They have a great community in Delray Beach, and National Night Out is a perfect time to highlight their hard work and continue to build their ties.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

Officer Brandon Beavais of Pueblo stated to kktv.com that the police need to have that partnership with the community, and when they work together, they can solve problems very quickly.

For more resources on police-community relations from ICMA, click here.  

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