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National Night Out offers opportunity to build trust with police

Community, police join forces
Published: Aug. 3, 2016 at 1:19 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2016 at 1:42 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Police officers and community members came together Tuesday night to make neighborhoods safer.

Tuesday marked the 33rd annual National Night Out. Humphrey Park in Collinwood swelled with neighbors happy to see the police department and residents interacting in a positive way.

"With more training and understanding about the works and functions of the neighborhood, less fear and more openness -- I think it's improving," Michael Holt said, on the relationship between residents and the police force.

Fifth District Commander, Dennis Hill, says an event like this goes a long way toward improving the way the city and its police force work together.

"That's so critical because we're tired of this adversarial relationship. The police aren't the bad guys. We're not this occupying force. We're part of the community. We're fathers. We're mothers. We're teachers. We're mentors," he said.

Hill says the Republican National Convention was their department's championship, and they're still riding the wave, instilling trust that will help combat crime.

"From these type of events, a lot of good information comes. People decide that 'Hey, you know what I remember what happened on that day, because I met this officer, I trust him or her and I want to talk to him or her,' so this is a great tool," he said.

But when we talked to some people at the park, it was clear police still have work to do.

"Some of our brothers and sisters aren't safe out here. I just try to tell them to be safe. If they say put your hands up, stop and put your hands up," said Karen Phillips.

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