BALTIMORE — National Night out events took over parks and street corners all over the area tonight.
There’s no denying the divide between police and community in Baltimore and pretty much everywhere.
The hope is that these events plant a seed of togetherness.
Lt. Matthew Johnson the Community Outreach and Support Team Leader said the key to a communities heart is simple.
“Food brings everybody out," Johnson said.
In a city so well known for violence and distrust in police— it’s a welcoming sight to see officers and people with their guard down— sharing laughs and smiles.
“With all the protests and things over this past year," Johnson said. "It’s a great time for us to know there is hope. We’re in a really good place right now where we can move forward.”
Brantley Mason was out at the UMBPD event with his grandkids who were enjoying the video game truck and getting to know the officers and other first responders.
“I am glad to see them," Mason said. "It’s a blessing to see them when you see them you know it’s something right. It’s a good start.”
Over in Bel Air Edison the cities top cop Commissioner Michael Harrison is hopeful exchanges like this become the norm.
“We get to involve community members in how we do our jobs," Harrison said. "To get their input on what is wanted, needed, and expected. What’s deserved because it’s a collaboration. For too long we’ve given the community what we’ve wanted to give them. Now we’re including community in policies, training, community policing. It makes our job that much easier because the narrative shifts about how people feel about their safety.”
Community and cops got to know each other A little better on this night where the hope is to build connections and create stronger neighborhoods.
“We’re making sure that we have that trust and that trust sticks and stability lands with that trust to be able to make sure we conquer the crime in our neighborhood," said Senator Cory McCray.