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Communities, police gather for National Night Out in central Ohio

Neighbors and police officers met across about a dozen National Night Out events in an effort to build relationships and trust with law enforcement.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Communities across central Ohio gathered for several National Night Out events on Tuesday.

The annual events aim to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement by using block parties and community events to promote a fun and safe environment.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant attended the event being held at Mooreland Park.

Chief Bryant, who got to experience her first National Night Out event in Columbus, said it was a great day to see police and the community come together.

Bryant said by neighbors and police officers coming together Tuesday, it sends a message to violent criminals that the two are together and not divided.

"We want people to be able to speak up when they hear something, say something, be our eyes and ears. We have a lot of initiatives that we are going to put forth to make sure to keep our community as safe as possible," Bryant said.

Columbus Deputy Chief Tim Becker was also at Mooreland Park and was happy to meet neighbors.

"I think there's not much more important, especially right now between police and the community," Becker said. "We get to come out on a first-name basis, just to have fun. Share some smiles for a few hours."

By growing relationships with neighbors, Becker believes police can build trust and help solve violent crimes in Columbus.

"It's really important that we get people to know us because once they know us, I think the trust will be better and they will be more willing to come forward with tips," Becker said. "But I can understand people who never met a police officer before, how they'd be reluctant to just come up and share information."

Across the National Night Out events, people got to enjoy festivities, food and even a dunk tank.

National Night Out is held the first Tuesday of every August.