Neighborhood residents, police and fried chicken
Published 10:18 am Friday, August 8, 2014
FRANKLIN—Residents of the Berkley Neighborhood Watch invited the police and fire and rescue departments to share food and fellowship.
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, National Night Out came to the corner of Gardner and Campbell Street. Berkley Neighborhood Watch President Frank Davis said that perhaps owing to great weather, the event’s second year had a better attendance than the first.
“I was very pleased with the turnout,” Davis said. “The members of our neighborhood watch group were out and enjoying it, and I was also pleased with the turnout by the fire department and police department.”
Davis said he was particularly excited to see Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison there.
“It was real good to see our chief come out and be with us,” he said. “Not only did he come out, but his wife was there.”
Hardison said he had a great time.
“It was a chance to come together, co-mingle and coexist with members of the community that we serve every day at a time when there is no crisis, no stress,” he said. “I am grateful to the fact that the group wanted us there. It was just a wonderful event.”
It was good to be out interacting with community members in a non-enforcement roll.
“For all intents and purposes, we were really there as invited guests,” Hardison said. “I can think of no greater honor than when you go into someone else’s home, for example, and you were there because they wanted you there. Not because you had a legal right to be there or because there is a need to be there, but simply because they wanted you there.”
National Night Out stems back to the Neighborhood Watch program, and Hardison said that’s really important to the police force.
“It is a great relationship building opportunity between the police and the community we serve, at a very grass roots level,” he said. “A lot of social issues get worked out as a result of some of the collaboration of benefactors of organized neighborhood watches and well intended people — people who are genuinely concerned about the quality of life in their area.”
And of course the importance of having good relationships with people in the community can’t be understated.
“Our information and our ability to solve crime comes from the public,” Hardison said. “Absent those relationships, we don’t have access to the information necessary to solve crimes. We can’t do it on our own. There just aren’t enough of us.”
Clyde Johnson, the vice president for the Berkley group, also thought the event turned out well.
“It was a very good venture,” he said. “I think everyone enjoyed the food, the fellowship, and I look forward to doing it next year.”
He said that it looked like the officers were having a good time.
“I think they enjoyed it,” he said. “I think they appreciate what we are trying to do. They gave us some good comments on our efforts.”
Sgt. Scott Halverson, who is FPD’s liaison with the watch groups, was also on hand.
“There was lots of food and everyone was having fun,” he said. “There is nothing better than the citizens that we protect getting to know us as we get to know them at the same time.”
Halverson said the Berkley group is very strong, but that there are two other groups, North Woods and Holli Knoll, as well as a business watch group, Franklin Plaza, that are getting stronger.
Hardison said the department hoped to help better organize these groups.
“We would like to be able to move from one location to the other,” he said, talking about National Night Out. “It would be good to get everyone to participate.”
As far as the Berkley watch, Davis said he was excited for next year.
“Yeah, we are going to keep it going,” he said. “We have got a real good group of people and they are all working together.”
Davis said it’s all about making the neighborhood safe.
“We are all concerned about safety and having a safe city,” he said. “We want to be able to leave and not have to worry about someone breaking into our house, or having the drugs around and all of the different acts that can cause.
“We all just want a nice neighborhood where we can live in harmony and brotherly love. We all do what we can to make the neighborhood safe, and I think it’s helping.”