National Night Out gives officers, community a chance to connect

National Night Out gives officers, community a chance to connect

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Police officers from across the country focused on strengthening the relationships with the communities they serve during Tuesday night's National Night Out campaign.

The Wilmington Police Department set up shop at the center court inside Independence Mall from 5-7 p.m.

Jennifer Dandron, a WPD spokesperson, said on Tuesday morning's News Now in the WECT Digital Studio that reaching their neighbors in the community is a big part of policing and National Night Out gives officers a chance to do just that.

"We live in tense times and anything we can do to relieve that tension, any effort we can make, we want to do that because we want our community to know we care," Dandron said.

Wilmington police vehicles were on display at the mall. Prizes and candy were also given out.

Officers handed out pamphlets with crime prevention tips and the nine women officers featured on the Lifetime series Women on Patrol were part of the event.

"You've seen them on TV. Now come and meet them," Dandron said.

One of those officers, Cardiellea Barksdale, said it was great showing community members a different side of the officers.

"We're able to share with the community the Women on Patrol to show what we are able to bring to the police force," Barksdale said. "Not taking anything away from the men or anything because we're doing the same job, just giving us a chance to speak with people here and talk about the show and hopefully recruit some future females to Wilmington PD. That would be nice too."

Dandron encourages members of the community to get familiar with their neighbors, who are officers in some cases.

"It's important for members of communities to realize that officers are just as invested in the community as they are," she said. "They work here. They live here. They have families here so it's important for people to understand that it's not just, 'We're here to arrest you.' We're here because we love the community. We want to have those relationships."

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