SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - A strong thunderstorm didn't stop residents and local law enforcement from gathering together at Jeffords Park in Sylvester for the 7th Annual National Night Out.
It's a popular event where people get a chance to mix and mingle with the men and women who protect them everyday.
"Once you're wet, you're not going to get anymore wet so once people understand that," said Sylvester Police K-9 Investigator Paul Klein.
Friday's sudden down-pour didn't keep people from coming out to get to know their local law enforcement better.
It's Paul Klein's fourth year on the K-9 narcotics unit. And his fourth time attending National Night Out.
"It opens up the doors to the community to come be part of understanding who we are, said Klein.
Breaking down stereotypes and building relationships was the goal. And Officer Klein led the way.
"You really got to help show these kids that there's a lot more positive in the world than just negative," said Klein.
But, it's not just those relationships with kids that needs fixing.
"Cops weren't on my list of best people, but now that I've worked with them for six, seven months they've become like family," said 911 Center Communications Officer Wendy Lester.
Lester's feelings changed when her job changed.
"They go home to a family just like we do, they have kids, they have wives and husbands. They live everyday lives just like we do. They're human beings behind their outfit," said Lester.
Wendy Lester recently joined Sylvester's 9-1-1 center.
It's events like this that help others view officers in the same light as Lester.
And it's those small steps that usher in change.
"And you may not remember everybody but there going to be those that you impact. And they're going to come up and say hey Officer Klein," said Klein.