NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Police departments across North Texas celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday, even in the middle of a pandemic.
Officers in Dallas were able to connect with people through a COVID-friendly drive-thru at Flag Pole Hill Park.
“We live in the neighborhood and this is an event right by our house,” said Stuart Kramer, who came by the event. “I think it would be a great opportunity just to get some one-on-one time with the officers we normally see just driving by.”
National Night Out may look different this year, but officers still wanted to thank people for their support.
#NationalNightOut has gone virtual in Plano for 2020. Watch this important video from Chief Ed Drain as he addresses our performance measures and how we stand on police reform. #CityofExcellence #PlanoProud https://t.co/Q9EXsCpblt
— Plano Police (Texas) (@PlanoPoliceDept) October 6, 2020
“I think the biggest thing is to show them that we’re still here for them,” said Deputy Chief William Griffith. “We’ll always be there for them. COVID-19 is not going to stop that.”
Griffith says the pandemic has made community policing harder, so they have to get creative to reach out to the people they serve. Officers hold some meetings virtually.
“They have to see us over a computer screen, so it’s been kind of difficult,” he said. “However, now that it’s virtual, people can stay home.”
That means there’s actually been an increase in people participating.
“My hope is that the public in general see that the police are just people,” said Stacey Roth with the Vickery Midtown Public Improvement District, which hosted the event. “Every one of these officers has a family. Every one of these officers wants everyone else they serve to be able to live in a safe environment.”
Police say events like National Night Out remind them why they got into this field.
“I believe it’s a calling, and they’re coming to work doing what they’re called to do, and that’s service,” said Deputy Chief Griffith.