AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo residents got to know the police officers who keep their neighborhoods safe this evening during the city's first ever National Night Out.
This event is meant to promote "police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live," according to the National Association of Town Watch, who puts on this even across the country annually.
At Amarillo's inaugural National Night Out Tuesday evening, people got to know who lives in their neighborhoods, and meet the police officers who protect them.
"The officers are getting a chance to spend some quality time with our community," said Elizabeth Brown, Captain of the APD Uniform Division. "Quite often first responders are going from one call to the next and we don't always get the opportunity to just sit and visit with the community, so this is a great way for us to connect."
APD officers were at about 26 different neighborhood gatherings set up by citizens.
"This has been an incredible event," said Brown. "A lot of people are getting to know each other that haven't had a chance to meet before. The neighbors are making connections and talking about getting together again, so it's absolutely accomplishing what we're setting out to do."
The APD chose to participate in this national event in an effort to increase transparency within the police force.
"This is one of the goals of Chief Drain - getting our police department more and more involved in the community," said Cpl. Sean Slover. "National Night Out is a great way for residents on their block to get out, lock their doors, meet each other, greet each other and see what everybody is all about."
Slover, Brown and dozens of other APD officers worked to let people know they're here to help, not to harm or frighten these neighborhoods.
That message was made clear to residents Tuesday evening.
"We need to appreciate them for what they do and [know] that they're not meant to be intimidating, they're here to help us," said Liz Jordan, a Wolflin resident who attended her neighborhood National Night Out gathering. "I think, especially like with the little ones, I think it's great for them to see the police car and just get to know the policemen and highway patrolmen. I think that's really super."
This is just the beginning for National Night Out in Amarillo.
Residents and officers alike said they're already looking forward to next year, and hope to make this an annual event in Amarillo.