US Attorney General visits National Night Out for police-community relations

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One look around and you can see what the National Night Out is about in Detroit.

All over the country events like this are taking place, but Detroit is being looked at as a model of how to do it right when it comes to police officers interacting with the people they serve.

Resident Vicki Jenkins said the event allows the children to see police officers up close and personal.

"I see kids running up and shaking hands and it brings the community together," Jenkins said.

And if you still can't tell, just ask fourth grader Tiara Ingram.

FOX 2: "What would you say that police officer?"

"I would say thank you for everything you've done in protecting us," she said.

That answer is exactly what police are looking for coming during a summer where this country has seen its fair share of tragedies.  Police have been targeted and killed as well as citizens who have died at the hands of police officers.
But police in Detroit say this city is different.

"I feel Detroit has the edge where we always been kind to our people,” said Officer Baron Coleman. “People pull me aside all the time and say 'I'm thankful for you, don't give up on us we love you,’ that (other) stuff doesn't happen in Detroit."

And not only that, Detroit has something to offer the rest of the country.

"We have diversity in this police department that reflects these neighborhoods," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. "And that's what is important."

Which is exactly why U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to this event and took time to talk to the people.

"This event is about connecting," Lynch said. "This event is about the ties that bind us together and make us stronger and they are really on display here and we are so happy and proud as the Department of Justice to support that."

And Detroit is proud to show it off.

"The U.S. government  is saying we like what we see in Detroit," Craig said. "And there are other departments that can learn from us."

The key will be taking this one night a year and making it last all year long.

"It makes sure that police officers are accessible," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. “That  the public sees police not just as an occupying army here to arrest people, but they are part of this neighborhood, this community. And when you see them like this it goes a long way towards building those encounters."

"We are all one community, we are all one neighborhood, we are all one country," Lynch said. "And the goal is to keep everyone safe."

This is one of 16,000 events that happened nationwide, part of an annual tradition that has happened for the past 33 years.