A lot of Tulsans spent Friday evening getting ready for â€˜National Night Outâ€™, an annual event where neighbors band together to keep criminals away from their homes and schools. The actual event is coming up next month, but KOTV found things rolling along at a pre-party Friday evening in Tulsa.
It's not your usual Friday night outing in the park. People like Lashedda Johnson took some time getting to know police and other emergency workers at Crawford Park. She says it's good way to build trust between regular people and the law officers who serve them. "This way the children see them in a different light. You know theyâ€™re not always going to rush to do something to go catch the bad guy."
It's the kind of opportunity police appreciate, especially after a conflict like the one last weekend where they ended up flooding several people's apartments to get to a suspect who was holding them at bay. They used a weapon like this to nab the woman. It shoots rubber bullets that can stun a person into submission. Officer: "And it's exactly like getting hit in the stomach with a fastball, it'll knock the wind out of you."
The Citizens Crime Commission organized the festival. Executive director Brooke Dieterlen says it was a perfect time for questions and answers. "This is a time where if you have any questions about why would the city of Tulsa purchase and armored personnel carrier when would we need to use it in this type of city or what kind of crimes are going on in my neighborhood if you don't hold an alert neighbor meeting or you're not active in a neighborhood association this is the best venue to ask those types of questions."
Or to just have some fun, like 7 year old Robert Johnson was doing in the police department's helicopter. Serrell, "You think you might like to grow up to be a policeman?â€ Robert: "Uh, uh. Serrell, "What you like to do instead? How about a firefighter?â€ Robert: "That'll work.â€ A similar pre-party was held in Broken Arrow Friday evening.
What organizers want you to do is the first Tuesday in August, turn on your porch light and spend some time out talking to your neighbors. Get to know one another better and talk about ways you can help each other keep suspicious activity away from your street and away from your home.