Know the police before you need the police. That was the motto behind a fun cookout at Druid Hill Park on Saturday afternoon.
Baltimore Police joined community members and local businesses for a friendly get-together. It was an effort for officers to get to know the students of the community in a positive environment.
"Getting these school-aged kids together with the police, wrapping our arms around them, having a good time, making sure they see all the cool things about our profession, like the helicopter and the horses and a lot of our different police officers -- it's just a good time and no better time to get together with each other before we kick off a new school year," said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
The event was called the Pro-ject and Serve Community Cookout. Commissioner Davis said he hopes it will encourage more cooperation between the community and the police.
"To be able to reference that contact with the police to a very positive event like today is something we think will lower temperatures, will result in better interactions with the police," Commissioner Davis said. "It's just where we need to go with our profession, it's where we need to go in Baltimore; we're going in that direction. But an event like this takes it there all that much faster."
Ultimately, the BPD wants to become a leading force among police officers. It's currently the 8th largest police department in the country.
"I want us to lead the way more often than we're currently leading the way, and I want to establish best practices here," Commissioner Davis said.