Murder gives emphasis to Night Out

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Picayune Police Department gathered with residents in the community Tuesday evening to promote involvement in crime prevention activities as a part of National Night Out.

When officers arrived to The Weems Chapel United Methodist Church on Third Street, a candlelight vigil for murder victim Kema D. Keys took place outside of the church.

Family and friends of Keys gathered alongside members of the police department and shared memories.

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Councilwoman Lynn Bogan Bumpers told the crowd that she hopes her son’s death will bring change and stop the violence. “When something bad happens, something good can come from it,” Bumpers said.

Condolences were expressed by Chief Bryan Dawsey on behalf of the police department. “We are here for you,” Dawsey said.

“I can promise you that every one of my men and women are working tirelessly to find the person(s) responsible and we will not quit until they are brought to justice,” he said.

“I don’t hate the man that killed my child,” Bumpers said, “I just want to get him off the streets so he doesn’t kill again. Two of the saddest words in the English language are too late.”

Bumpers pleaded that problems not be resolved with violence, “No vengeance, no bullets, deal with problems in a positive way,” she said.

The department has participated in National Night Out for 15 years.

Officers met at two other locations in the city prior to The Weems Chapel United Methodist Church and issued handouts with safety information regarding identity theft and how to prevent it from happening, along with coffee mugs, whistles, sunglasses and other items.

At the Bridgeway Apartments, officers were greeted with decorations, refreshments and smiling faces.

The residents of the Bridgeway Apartments were reminded that the police department is there for them. Chief Dawsey told the residents if they need anything, to call — and a chorus of “911” broke out from the crowd.

Residents, all wearing police badge stickers, mingled with officers and asked various questions.

The Bridgeway Apartments provide assisted-living and supported employment services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an environment that allows the maximum level of independence for each resident.

National Night Out is an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and to send a message to criminals that the community is on the lookout for them and will report them.