National Night Out to focus on police-community relationships

Tuscaloosa-area National Night Out. (Source: Tuscaloosa Police Department)
Tuscaloosa-area National Night Out. (Source: Tuscaloosa Police Department)

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Law enforcement agencies across the entire country, including Alabama, are hosting National Night Out events this Tuesday.

The goal of National Night Out is to build and strengthen relationships among police and citizens and to take a stand against criminals.

The Tuscaloosa-area National Night Out is scheduled for Sokol Park, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuscaloosa Police Department, Northport Police Department, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency are partnering to host the event.

Tuscaloosa Police Department Sgt. Brent Blankley says with recent national events that have put a focus on police-community relations, he believes this is a great opportunity to address that issue.  "In recent events, it seems like in the last couple of years with the police department there's been mistrust and those type of things, and we want to break all those barriers down," Blankley said. "We're human beings just like everybody else, and we just want to interact with the public as much as possible."

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has recently dealt with the death of a suspect in police custody. Whether it is regarding that issue, or something else, Blankley says National Night Out is a time to talk directly with officers. "So we just urge anyone, if you have a mistrust, if you just want to get a question answered, come out meet with us."

Blankley also says a major goal of National Night Out is teaching children that police can help them. Blankley says officers will have tools like a bomb robot and K-9 unit there to entertain children and help teach them about the role of law enforcement.

Free hot dogs and refreshments will also  be served at National Night Out. Sokol Park is located at 6198 Watermelon Rd. in Northport.