Event aimed at helping communities build bonds with police kicks off in Honolulu

Event aimed at helping communities build bonds with police kicks off in Honolulu

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Millions across the country are participating in National Night Out, an annual campaign that helps build trust and relationships between the community and law enforcement.

Here in Honolulu, hundreds of families had the chance to meet the officers and first responders who watch over their neighborhoods every day at the Halsey Terrace Community Center in Salt Lake.

The campaign promotes partnerships between police and residents, with the goal of making neighborhoods safer.

Parents say it's also important for their children to meet and interact with law enforcers.

"A lot of people have reason to feel scared and afraid of law enforcement, especially our kids of color," said Salt Lake resident Toya Kelly. "So if we can show that we're all here to work together -- we want to keep police safe, we want the police to keep us safe -- then hopefully we can start dispelling some of the issues that we have."

The military police, federal fire department, Honolulu Crimestoppers, and other agencies held demonstrations, showed off their equipment, and shared tips on what to do in an emergency.

"At a young age, it really impacts how they can trust law enforcement or not trust law enforcement," said military police Master of Arms Tyler Farmer. "If they get the wrong impression of us, it sets a standard throughout the rest of their life."

With the popularity of social media, online groups, like Stolen Stuff Hawaii, have become the go-to forums for people reporting illegal activities.

Officials say it's critical that the public feels comfortable sharing the same information with authorities.

"One of the common questions that we get is how can we guarantee someone's anonymity," said Sgt. Chris Kim with Honolulu Crimestoppers. "The success of our program is solely based on the anonymity of it and how it runs. They're our eyes and ears out there. Law enforcement can't do this all on our own."

Organizers say National Night Out has been around for 36 years, and 38 million people across all 50 states and military bases around the world participate every year.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.