Tuesday night, Moss Point Police officers took the night off the streets so they could have a night out with the citizens they protect and serve.
There was a party in Moss Point Tuesday evening that had zero chance of being shut down by the police, mostly because they were already there, and they threw the party to connect with the community. Art McClung, Interim Police Chief of Moss Point, says, "It can be something to kick off and show the public that the police care about the community, so that they can get to know us as human beings and get to meet us."
The Night Out Against Crime campaign is a national trend that has police forces around the country reaching out to citizens, hopefully so that citizens’ only encounter with the police won't be a negative one. McClung also says, "It's extremely important that every encounter the police have is not an encounter where we're putting someone in jail, or giving somebody a ticket. That's just a minute portion of our job. Our job is to protect and serve the people."
Tuesday night’s event was not just about improving community relationships, but also about improving professional relationships which may have been strained in the past. Charles Britt, Interim Sheriff of Jackson County, says, "We've had a somewhat, the Sheriff’s Department and the agencies have had an adversarial relationship. It's time for healing, it's a time to come back together, it's a time to be partners."
Moss Point Police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department worked hand in hand with the City of Moss Point, the fire department, D.A.R.E., and local school districts, which start school Wednesday. Maggie Griffin, the Superintendent of the Moss Point School District, says, "All of the parents, please remember, the busses are rolling in the morning, so please make sure your children are on there."
For the citizens in Moss Point, the food, fun, and prizes were a great way to end the summer, but News 25 had one last question for the sheriff. If all the police were at the event, who's watching the city? Britt closes, “We've got it covered, we've got it covered."