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'National Night Out" events seek to build community-police trust

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Police departments across Chicago are gearing up for the annual "National Night Out" on Tuesday. (WLS)

Police departments across Chicago are gearing up for the annual "National Night Out" on Tuesday.

The event aims to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer. It also provides an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals and cookouts with safety demonstrations and seminars.

At the event in Jesse Owens Park in the city's Calumet Heights neighborhood, officers threw footballs with children and officials chatted with their parents over snow cones and hot dogs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson were there, enjoying the food and fun.

In a city like Chicago, which is plagued by violence, events like these matter. So far this year, the city has seen 402 murders, up from 392 from July 2016.

"Just to come out and have some fun. And just to see exactly what's going on, what the good things that the Chicago Police Department is doing, especially for the kids. For them to have a safe day out," said Robin Jackson, resident and grandmother.

"I really do believe the police are for us. I mean, there are some that don't do what they're supposed to do, but it's not all of them, so you can't fault them all. But I do believe they're supposed to protect us, I do feel safe out here," said 17-year-old resident Joshua Jackson.

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The Darien Police Department is one of many departments to participate in Tuesday's "National Night Out."



Sgt. Nick Skweres, of the Darien Police Department, visited ABC7 to talk about the village's first "National Night Out" event, which will be held 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Darien Community Park.

The Darien event will feature a police canine demonstration, SWAT demonstration and many kid- and family-friendly events and activities.

Various other communities are holding similar "National Night Out" events. Resident should call local police departments to find out if they're participating.

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