The Baton Rouge Police Department hosted their annual community building event, National Night Out Against Crime, Tuesday. This event is celebrated by police departments across the country to strengthen the relationship between the public and various levels of law enforcement.
The event was supported by numerous sections of first responders and police forces in the Baton Rouge community, including Louisiana State Police, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, LSUPD, Baton Rouge Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.
These forces brought equipment and resources to provide demonstrations and show attendants the tools used to keep the community safe. Activities included meet-and-greets with police dogs and horses, crime scene fingerprinting demonstrations, Fire Safety House tours, exploration of an ambulance, SWAT truck and police boat as well as close-up views of police helicopters and motorcycles.
BRPD's Victim Service Advocate Corporal Sherri Harris said the goal of the event is to provide resources to the public.
“It gives everybody an opportunity to come out and learn about events or organizations that they didn’t know about before,” Harris said. “There’s so many different divisions that people may not even know about and that’s the whole point--to give them an opportunity to learn about the different things that are readily available right inside their city.”
Harris said the event also provides an opportunity for the community to talk to police in a safe and comfortable setting.
“It’s an opportunity to show we’re human too,” Harris said. “It gives everybody the opportunity to talk, to mingle, to meet someone you didn’t know before and to see police on a different level. Usually, the only time we’re [the community] interacting with the police is when it’s something bad.”
The event was also sponsored by many businesses and organizations around the city who brought marketing swag and set up informational tables. Among these organizations raising awareness for their cause were Pennington Biomedical Research Center and LSU student organization Tigers Against Trafficking.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center Outreach Community Coordinator Floyd Hodoh said the event is a great way to support both the community and the police. This was Hodoh’s third year in attendance.
“A lot of my events that I attend and recruit people for, the police are involved,” Hodoh said, “so, because of our relationship, I come and attend and support the police.”
Tigers Against Trafficking President Sarah Thibodeaux hosted an informational booth to inform the community of the dangers of human trafficking and to spread their mission outside of campus. Thibodeaux said the club works diligently to act as a mediator between the LSU community and the Baton Rouge community to bring together prevention efforts.
“Anywhere that anyone is trying to help out with human trafficking efforts or volunteer in any way, we are sort of a connector for organizations in the community and the student body,” Thibodeaux said.
BRPD looks forward to celebrating the 37th annual National Night Out Against Crime next fall.