The City of Lubbock’s Police Department and the Lubbock United Neighborhood Association (LUNA) hosted the National Night Out this year on Tuesday.
National Night Out is participated in by at least 38 million neighbors in all 50 states.
The campaign strives to build connections between law enforcement and community members, and to make neighborhoods safer as a whole.
Three locations in Lubbock hosted kick off events Tuesday and individual neighborhoods carried on the event afterward.
Assistant Chief of Lubbock Police Jon Caspell explained that the event is an opportunity for community members to get acquainted with local law enforcement and to get reacquainted with their neighbors.
He called National Night Out of 2016 in Lubbock a “tremendous success,” saying officers and community members stayed late in the evening getting to know each other.
“The officers who work these neighborhoods on a day-to-day basis, we’ve asked them to come and to be there to meet their community members so that whenever they need [police] service they’re comfortable walking up to these officers and saying hey, I remember you we had a hot dog together, I need your help with something,” Caspell explained.
This year the event holds special weight for Lubbock Police.
“This has been a tough couple of weeks for law enforcement nationwide,” Caspell said. “We saw that with the attacks in Baton Rouge and with our friends in Dallas. So just to have a community event that we are included in, to come together, and for our police officers to see that the community does support them as strongly as Lubbock does, and for us to be able to give back and serve them and to be able to shake hands and be present.”
Caspell explained that National Night Out fits well with LPD’s recent push to connect patrol officers to the neighborhoods they work in.
“It’s a geographic and community based model, we are encouraging our officers to get out in the community, we are spearheading that within my bureau– with public relations and community programs– involving these officers that work these beats to come out not just when things are bad, when they’re called for service, but to interact intentionally and proactively in a positive way with these neighborhoods,” Caspell said.
He said officers have been working to do more things such as playing basketball or going fishing with people who live in the neighborhoods they patrol.
Caspell added that the relationships between neighbors that can come out of community events like National Night Out help to deter conflict around the Hub City.
“Folks would be pleasantly surprised, I think, with how much conflict could be resolved even in Lubbock, Texas with just a handshake,” he said. “So many of the crimes we deal with can deal with misunderstandings or a lack of communication, neighbors not knowing neighbors even just as something as simple as a neighbor being too loud.”
The attendees of Lubbock’s National Night also seemed to be on-board with the goal of building stronger networks throughout the entire community.
“It’s very important so we can come together and be on one accord, that’s what needed, not only here but all the cities need to do this type of thing, we all need to do this, we are all God’s children,” said Billy Morrison, who attended the event.