Muskogee residents turned out Tuesday evening at two local parks for National Night Out, an event designed to enhance "the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community," according to the National Night Out website.
The city celebrated the night at Robison and Rotary parks in Muskogee.
The event also provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances, which was noted by a parent in attendance with family.
"You know, a lot of times when you have to interact with the police it's not for a good thing," said Becky Rollins. "So, having the chance to come out and meet officers and see that they're real people who aren't out to get you is really positive."
It was advantageous from the police perspective, as well.
"It's awesome, because that's our whole purpose: to build relationships with people. They're very receptive to us," said Muskogee Police Officer Lynn Hamlin.
At a time when the nation is in turmoil with mass shootings occurring so frequently, Muskogee is fortunate to have an event that is so positive. We are fortunate to have officers who care enough to participate in fun events that, even if only for one evening, brings the community together and teaches caring. One evening and one interaction could have a lasting effect on children and their perception of police.
Consider Gracie Ayers, 11. She came to the event excited to meet police officers.
"They inspire me to do good things. I love them. I always wanted to be one," Gracie said.
We hope they inspire others, as well.