National Night Out has become an American tradition in cities around the country. Because it brings together citizens and law enforcement officers in the spirit of celebration and fun, it is bringing back a true sense of community. Recently, one of our departments Gonzales, California Police Department, debuted their PEACE OFFICER vehicles at their National Night out celebration.
While the Gonzales celebration happened on August 8th, hundreds of different departments and millions of people every year take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on dates of their choosing. Gonzales hosted block parties, festivals, cookouts and other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and of course the PEACE OFFICER vehicles.
When we started Police2Peace two years ago we wondered whether a simple, low tech idea could help departments develop community engagement and lower the barriers between police and the community. With examples like Gonzales California, we know it can be done. In fact, research is performed on every department showing that including PEACE OFFICER decals is actually changing the way communities and police departments see each other. It’s all about communication: how we show up in a conversation with another person determines almost everything about how that interaction will be perceived by both parties. By shifting how officers are aware of themselves, and how the public sees them, we are proving that we can positively impact the encounters that happen between police officers and the citizens in their communities. That’s what we’re about at Police2Peace: helping to reinforce the positive, provide community outreach and bring peace to our cities.