North Texas Police Departments Reach Out to Communities

There are more than 150 community events planned for National Night Out

Tuesday marks Texas’ participation in the National Night Out celebration. It’s a night dedicated to strengthening the relationship between police and communities.

This comes in a time in North Texas history when a number of local police departments are in the national spotlight. National Night Out can serve as a time to build bridges within the communities officers serve.

NBC 5 reached out to police departments in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Balch Springs to find out what they had planned.

Arlington has more than 200 community events planned and officers will attend. Their goal is building lasting bonds.

"It takes years to build these relationships and we have to do this every year to try to learn one another and to see that we are human too and have these relationships and know that they can trust us," Sgt. Vincent Pewitt with Arlington Police’s Crime Prevention Unit said.

Fort Worth is city that has now embraced a climate of working toward understanding and conversation for well over a year as the city created a Race and Culture Task Force.

There are more than 150 community events planned for National Night Out.

"A lot of time with police, we only get to see people on their worst day. They've had a car break-in or they have a kid that's missing or they've had some sort of emergency. They've had an accident. We don't always get to interact with them on their best day. This is going to be one of the best days. This is a positive event," Sgt. Chris Britt said.

In Dallas, there are a community events planned, but some districts host several similar events several times a month. Those events are focused on fostering lasting relationships. The goal is the challenge; getting people to come with open minds.

"Instead of believing what you hear, come out and meet the officers and then you will understand that we are committed to you,” Dallas Police Deputy Chief Avery Moore said. “We took this job because we are committed to the safety of everybody - not just white, black, green, purple - to everybody. We're all people and we're all in this together."

In Balch Springs, they are trying something new this year. Along with their community gatherings there will also be a first-time large community gathering.

Chief Jonathan Haber said it is extending an outreach that started before their time in the national spotlight.

"Before that we were going out and making connections with our churches and our community leaders and stuff and we still continue to do that today. So the game plan hasn't really changed,” Haber said. “Because we know that without the citizens and without the community we can't do our jobs and if we are not partnered up, our jobs are that much harder."

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