National Night Out: Picayune PD connects with commuityPublished 7:00am Saturday, October 17, 2015
Tuesday, the men and women of Picayune’s Police Department shared laughter and conversation and brought awareness to the community during National Night Out Against Crime.
According to www.natw.org, National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes relationships between community and law enforcement.
“They get to know us on a personal level,” Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said. “We have to work together to stamp out crime. Some of our crimes wouldn’t be solved without tips from citizens. We also want them to have faith in us and know that when they call us, we are going to do our job, which is to keep each and every citizen and their property safe in a respectful manner. Every member of this community is important to us.”
Dawsey said he and his officers enjoy interacting with everyone, from seniors to children.
Capt. Theresa Milar coordinates the event and said the department has participated in National Night Out for the past 18 years.
Milar said their goal is to let the community know it is the eyes and ears who can provide law enforcement with the foundation to solve crimes.
“It’s important to have communication with the public so they trust us,” Milar said. “We’re out there doing our best to keep them safe. I enjoy all of it, including making new friends with members of our community.”
During the event, officers visited three locations throughout town, The Pines, Bridgeway Apartments and Weems Chapel United Methodist Church.
As the officers entered The Pines, they were greeted with a loud round of applause from the residents.
The Pines resident Lynda Albert said Picayune’s officers are wonderful and she feels safe knowing they are here for them.
“They are not like some stranger,” she said. “They’re people who really care, a human face we can touch.”
Leaundry Butler scheduled her dialysis appointment for earlier that day in order to attend the event. She said she loves all of the officers and feels a wonderful sense of security because she knows they are looking out for the senior and disabled citizens of the community.
“It’s good to know we haven’t been thrown away and somebody cares for us,” Butler said.
Karen Walls said she knows if she calls the Picayune Police Department in the middle of the night, they are going to come and it increases her sense of safety.
From the lawn of Bridgeway Apartments, residents watched with delight as the line of police cars entered their facility with sirens roaring.
Bridgeway resident Bob McAdoo said feels safer living in Picayune than in New Orleans because of Picayune’s officers.
Wendy Erickson, another Bridgeway resident, said it makes her feels safe when she knows the police are on duty.
“I know I have nothing to fear when I walk to the garbage can at night,” she said.
Paul Breland said the Picayune Police officers are funny.
“They tell lots of jokes and I feel safe because the nice cops will save us,” Breland said. “They are very nice people.”
After the visit at Bridegway, the officers made their way to Weems Chapel United Methodist Church where members of the church greeted the uniformed men and women with smiles and hot food.
Rhoda Jones brought her granddaughters so they could learn more about police officers and how they help the community.
Church member Belinda Porter said Weems Chapel likes to show the children that they support the Picayune Police Department.
“You don’t have to be afraid of the police,” Porter said. “You can call on them for help. It’s good for the children to see their faces so they can recognize them when they see them out.”
Eleven-year-old Anthony Clark said he attended the event in order to learn how officers stop crime and keep everyone safe.
“I want to thank them for keeping our town of Picayune, which we love so much, safe,” Clark said.