Officers, citizens mingle at National Night Out

Kalamazoo officer: 'We want the community to get to know us'

National Night Out, Kalamazoo
A National Night Out event in Kalamazoo on Aug. 2, 2016.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Tuesday was National Night Out, an event promoting positive relationships between police officers and the communities they serve.

In Kalamazoo, there were several events across the city, one of which was at the Northside Association for Community Development. Many of the people who came out to that event said the neighborhood’s unity is strong and its relationship to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is growing.

“Our officers are working hard every day, our citizens are working hard every day in their lives and sometimes those paths cross, and sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to really come together and learn from each other and get to know each other even by first names even,” Mayor Bobby Hopewell said.

For KDPS officers, the Night Out event was a chance to meet with community members face-to-face and teach kids about their job.

“He said stay safe,” Roy Thomas, one Northside neighborhood child, said of his interaction with an officer.

“We want the community to see and get to know us. Talk to us. We’re humans. Outside of that blue uniform, we’re people,” Detective Sgt. William Moore said.

National Night Out, Kalamazoo
A National Night Out event in Kalamazoo on Aug. 2, 2016.

“It’s important for the kids as well to see public safety. Normally they only interact with them in a negative way when somebody is going to jail or taking somebody away,” Tami Cox, a Northside resident, said.

It was a chance for the community to serve up some warmth and understanding by having conversations about neighborhoods and police interactions.

“It’s really as simple as that. You have to love thy neighbor and it’s forgiveness. And once we can all get that down, the rest will fall into place, I believe,” community member Angela O’Day said.

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