National Night Out emphasizes connection between Chicago police, community

ByCate Cauguiran and Christian PIekos and the ABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

National Night Out activities are taking place in Chicago and across the suburbs Tuesday night, building bonds between communities and the police who serve them.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Police departments across the country and the Chicago area are uniting with the neighborhoods they serve as part of the National Night Out.

The event gives law enforcement the chance to strengthen bonds with the community.

In West Lawn Park, an afternoon party began around 3:30 p.m., just one of the celebrations around the city.

"This community here is a community I love. I would never move from this community," said Englewood resident Cora Butler.

Butler has lived in Englewood since 1960, and she said her home needs a strong relationship with police.

"If they see something happening they are going to call the police, they want the police to know what's going on and I think that's a good thing," she said.

The mission of National Night Out is for police and neighbors to get to know each other with the hopes of solving problems together.

"When you get familiar with people, it makes a difference," said Carol Uher, a longtime West Side resident. "We need to get together on this. This is a great place to live."

"So often times what we share is crime, traumatic events and fearful situations. This is a welcome break in many communities," said 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez. "Being impacted by the violence almost daily takes a psychological toll on you and being able to come together in the spirit of happiness and togetherness gives your soul a chance to take a deep exhale."

"Trust is so fragile, so hard to earn and easy to lose," said CPD Supt. David Brown.

ABC7 was alongside Brown for National Night Out.

"We really have to work at continuing the momentum of building trust, reducing the crime numbers but also improving the perceptions that I am safe in my neighborhood," he said.

The superintendent was candid about how this night brought a heartwarming feeling to hear from neighbors throughout the city face-to-face. Brown spoke to us one-on-one in Cornell Park on the South Side, saying trust with the community is key to the department's work.

"It takes time and it takes commitment, it takes convincing and it takes people seeing your sincerity," he said.

Brown began his evening on the West Side, where state leaders joined in on the fun, and ended it on the North Side at the Lincoln Park Zoo with Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

"What you're seeing is people really gathering in safe spaces, intergenerational spaces," Lightfoot said. "It shows that they all know what we know, that the secret sauce is community coming together."

Superintendent Brown said CPD has since launched a new initiative: "Conversations with a Commander" in all 22 police districts, to help CPD better understand the different needs of the city's neighborhoods.