Interaction between members of the public and law enforcement officials is often limited to traffic citations and the occasional stolen bicycle report.
But on Tuesday they mixed and mingled at dozens of spots across Glendale and Burbank as part of National Night Out, a grass-roots movement aimed at improving neighborhood safety.
“I think it is cool because it is really developed by the community,” said Glendale Police Officer Renae Kerner as she handed out stickers to children at Pacific Park. “It is their night. It is something they put together, and we are supporting them.”
She and her colleagues revel in the opportunity to let down their guard a bit and interact with local residents in a more social context, Kerner said.
“In my opinion, the best crime prevention you can have is building a good relationship with the community,” Kerner said.
National Night Out launched in 1983 as a series of block parties in an effort to empower residents within their own communities. The idea was for residents to take back public spaces that were being overrun by crime.