National Night Out brings officers, community together
Posted August 1
Updated August 2
Raleigh, N.C. — Every year National Night Out brings people and police officers together to make their communities safer, and residents around the Triangle participated in the event Tuesday night.
In Durham, Morrisville and Raleigh, officers and deputies joined the community for games, music, food and casual conversation.
In Durham, McDougald Terrace- a place known in the past for contention with law enforcement-was the meeting spot for the festivities.
When people living in Durham think about the ideal community, many said they envision a neighborhood where people can go out, laugh and dance like they did Tuesday night.
“My vision is to see exactly what we’re seeing now. That the children can play freely without fear that someone is going to come through at any time, without shooting. That mothers can sit out on their porch at any time just like anybody else in any affluent community,” said community activist Jacqueline Wagstaff.
Community members and police chiefs said events like Tuesday’s can make a big difference in the long-run.
Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown noted that National Night Out is not guaranteed to be a success nationwide, but she is thankful the event drew a large turnout in her community.
“To see a community empowered enough to want to come out, to engage each other, but to invite us out there in times when we know throughout the country there are communities that don’t have any relationships with law enforcement. It’s an honor as chief to be invited,” she said.
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said having a night to work on the relationships between police and the communities is more important now than ever.
"It is important. It’s important all the time, but even more now as we think about some of the conversations going on nationally and even locally," McFarlane said. "In many communities police relationships are strained and to have people out in a friendly atmosphere, especially for the kids. They get to pet the horses and play with the dogs and really see that our community police are here for them."
Corey Branch, a Raleigh city councilman, echoed McFarlane's comments. He said National Night Out brings the community together for a unified purpose.
"It’s important because you have the city, you have the community, everybody coming together, Branch said. "And it’s citizen led and community led. So, that’s the significance of tonight, showing that we are one community and we’re stomping out violence."
Morrisville Police Chief Patrice Andrews described the ability for law enforcement and community members to come together as one of the best parts of her job.
“It is truly one of the best parts about law enforcement is being kind of servants, guardians of the community,” she said.
National Night Out began as an agreement of people in a neighborhood to turn on their porch lights in a show of solidarity and has transformed into a national event.