Community, Police Join Forces

by Kirsten May
Courtesy of A-State Department of Media

Across the nation, tensions continue to rise between law enforcement and community members. Officers in Jonesboro hope to avoid those situations by strengthening relationships with citizens. ASUTV News’ Kirsten May attended an event to bring them together and has more details about what people thought of it.

JONESBORO, Ark. — The event at City Water and Light Park on Cherry Street was just one of four National Night Out events held Oct. 4 in Jonesboro.

Several West End community members attended with their children and families to enjoy some time with local police officers.

Patrolman David Stout has been with the Jonesboro Police Department for nine years and says social events help residents see the person behind the badge.

“It brings people out and we get to interact with the community and they get to see us as human beings and not necessarily just in the cars that, you know, pull them over and have to go on calls and stuff like that and deal with them,” he said.

Sometimes it is hard to break that barrier with residents, Stout said, but it’s something the department pushes officers and new recruits to do.

“That’s one thing I try to impress upon the new guys. Get to know the people in your communities, get to know the people you deal with on a daily basis. Once you do you’ll be accepted more in the community and they’ll tell you stuff if they need to,” Stout said.

In 2015, 16,752 crimes were reported in Jonesboro, which is a 2 percent decrease from 2014. Officers and community members, like Jonathan Adams, both expressed hope that outreach events can help the number continue to decrease.

“I think they really do need to have something like this everywhere because it just brings everybody together. I mean, with all the violence that’s going on in the world, I think something like this once or twice, once or twice a month. I think it would be a good thing for everybody,” Adams said.

***

Another outreach program the department offers is the citizen police academy, where community members can learn about procedures and different areas of law enforcement. They are currently in their fourth session of the program. Applications for the next session can be found at Jonesboropolice.com.

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