Connecting community with police

This week’s National Night Out events were an important celebration of the relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities they protect and serve. It was a chance to help residents understand the portrayal of police and civilians as having an us-vs.-them dynamic is flat wrong.

“The point is to build relationships with our law enforcement officers, our first responders, that are non-confrontational and non-emergency, too,” said Terry Welch, of Harmar Hill’s Neighborhood Watch.

Should there be any doubt that our residents — particularly our kids — must understand law enforcement officers are on OUR side, that they are the good guys, one need look no further than Monday’s meeting of nine local organizations with Marietta City Schools teachers and administrators to explain the services available to students and families in need.

Every Child Needs a Hero gave administrators and teachers who are about to resume their roles as caretakers for many local kids a chance to hear from EVE, Inc., the Washington County Behavioral Health Board, Washington County Juvenile Court, the Southeast Ohio Youth Mentoring Project, Child Protective Services, Washington-Morgan Community Action, Family and Children First and the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services. A fair number of the children who have need of the resources made available by these agencies will also encounter law enforcement officers or other first responders at some point.

It is essential those children understand we are ALL on their side. The philosophy of local neighborhood watches, that we are all looking out for each other, holds true for residents of all ages.

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