Police and neighbors joined forces across the country to celebrate “National Night Out.”
A large group showed up in Escambia County at Lexington Terrace Park to take part in the block party style event.
The CW55’s Hayley Minogue joined the group today to hear from the group’s organizers.
The party’s aim was drug and crime prevention through community help and outreach. The Pensacola Police and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office were present to handle the policing side, and the Community Drug and Alcohol Council spoke to children and adults alike about drug usage. Night Out focuses on what the community can do to help, so sponsors thought they would help the community out with free school supplies and dinner.
“We’re all in this together, if you need help, were here to help you,” said Denise Manassa. “We also encourage you, if you have something going on in your neighborhood, let’s help law enforcement, let’s help our neighbors, and pay it forward by helping your neighbor. This is our way of just binding together.”
Many people present also took the time to thank police officers for their service.
A few of those law enforcement officials, as well as community members, shared different things you can do to get involved with neighborhood policing programs.
“It allows us to communicate as citizens, not so much law enforcement. The citizens that we serve, they get to see the deputies and police officers in a different light,” said Sheriff David Morgan, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
One way the ECSO encourages community members to get involved is through Operation Clean Sweep. The program is so successful, it’s currently booked through Summer of 2017.
“We look for drivers licenses, we do a safety check on your vehicle… Do all your lights work, your brakes work, your turn signal works,” Sheriff Morgan explained.
One man who attended the event says he’s been helping with Neighborhood Watch since he was 15 years old. He’s now 65.
“I feel really good about it,” said Ivan Levine. “I feel I’m doing my civic duty.”
The Pensacola Police Chief believes making friendships in a non-stressful environment is important.
“When you can have more quality face to face time with the public, they get to know you as a person, and then when you talk to them about crime in the neighborhood, and how you can work together, it establishes a legitimacy through your relationships,” said Chief David Alexander III.
The ESCO, Pensacola Police, and CDAC encourage people who want to get involved to “like” them on Facebook.