Hundreds head to Bensley Park for National Night Out

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Hundreds headed to Bensley Park Tuesday night for free food, entertainment, and to continue to build a relationship with law enforcement for National Night Out.

“Tonight, we’re celebrating police and community partnerships. I mean, really, National Night Out is a way for all your neighbors and community to come together,” David Potter with Chesterfield Parks and Rec said.

Potter has helped organize the National Night Out event at the park for years. He says this is the first time the event returned to what it was pre-pandemic.

It’s not your average summer cookout with hamburgers, hotdogs, cop cars, and inflatables but an opportunity to keep an open door between neighbors and law enforcement.

Chief Jeffrey Katz, with Chesterfield County Police, said this event is also a chance for police to strengthen neighborhood spirit.

He said while the county is seeing an increase in crime this summer, events like Tuesday night keep the community grounded and sends a message to criminals.

“When there’s a strong bond, the only people that lose out on that are the people who would violate societal norms and victimize members of the community,” Chief Katz said.

Some at Tuesday’s event agree with Chief Katz and believe that law enforcement is important and helpful.

”It’s something that I do feel that does help the community and says hey, there are some good police there are safe police, they’re good, trust them,” Endia Rich, who lives in Chesterfield, said. “Events like this kind of help bridge that.”

While others are still unsure but feel the impact of events like Tuesday on kids can help lower crime.

”It does in a way, and it doesn’t. It all depends on how children are raised really,” Jennifer Peters, who lives in Chesterfield, said. “If they’re raised to respect events, they’re going to respect them. If they weren’t they’re not.”

Potter said this is not the untraditional role Chesterfield Police has played this summer to help better build the bond with the community.

He said this summer 18 officers helped with a parks and recreation youth summer camp.

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