Law enforcement and first responders collaborate for "National N - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement and first responders collaborate for "National Night Out"

Imaya Freelove Imaya Freelove
Capt. Michael Persley and Det. Tamiko Whitlock Capt. Michael Persley and Det. Tamiko Whitlock
Larry Whitfield, ASU Golden Ram Larry Whitfield, ASU Golden Ram
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

First responders reached out to the community Thursday night to build better relationships and help kids get ready for school.

For the first time, all the law enforcement and first responder agencies in Dougherty County worked together on a National Night Out event. Law enforcement officers want to make sure children know they're always there to help them.

8-year-old Imaya Freelove is proud of the flower pot she made at National night out, but she admits that she's been afraid of police before.

"Because on the news the police officers come and get bad people and it just scares me,” said Imaya Freelove.

That's why law enforcers say it's important to have this event.

"You see we have a lot of vendors here,” said Capt. Michael Persley, Albany Police Department. “So, that way we can show the community that we are here for them regardless of what myths and rumors they may here about law enforcement.”

Law enforcers and other first responders partnered with local organizations and businesses to give out school supplies, food and crime prevention tips.

"Each agency is sharing their crime prevention tips,” said Capt. Persley. “We also have other vendors such as Central Monitoring and even Home Depot here who will tell you about how to change your locks and secure yourself in your homes."

Kids got a chance to make inkless identification cards with the Sheriff's Office and win new bikes. Even the ASU Golden Rams Football team took time to give back to the community. They say it's important for kids to know law enforcement officers.

"You know the community can have different kinds of perceptions, but once you meet them and get a firsthand idea, I think that's the best thing for them,” said Larry Whitfield, ASU Golden Ram.

"We have a movement in Albany right now that they are calling, just “One Albany,” said Det. Tamiko Whitlock, Dougherty County Police. “We as law enforcement we are buying into that, we want them to know that we are as one."

Imaya says she now has a new perception of law enforcement.

"They was sweet and they was sweet enough to throw this on,” said Freelove.

Freelove knows that law enforcers will always be there to serve and protect her community.

Law enforcers hope the event will continue to grow each year. They also hope during that time that the gap between law enforcement agencies and the community closes.

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