EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A picnic with police aims to cook crime in an Evansville neighborhood aiming for revival.
Friday marks the first time Old Erie and EPD have come together with a few police officers and a few hundred hot dogs. It helps bridge a gap in the neighborhood.
“They’re not against us, they’re for us,” said Old Erie neighborhood association President, Demetrick Baker.
It is a simple message sometimes taken for granted.
“We are not out here to cause problems, we are out here to make our neighborhood better,” Baker said. “It’s a blessing the kids come out here and see what the police do.”
The power of a new union is not lost on EPD Officer Nick Sandullo, a leader of crime prevention in the inner city.
“We got a lot of involvement from local neighbors, that’s what they want,” said Sandullo.
Neighbors are ready to change the perception of cops and their community. Baker hopes to make an impact with regular neighborhood meetings, and more picnics later this summer.
“Stop the violence, stop the shooting, stop killing one another,” he said.
Sandullo believes a friendly police presence can make a difference in the eyes of young kids, who may only see police when lights are flashing, and bad things happened.
“Sometimes they’re a little nervous, they don’t know how to react,” Sandullo explained. “But then when you give them something positive, a sticker, a drink, just goofing around with them.”
Sometimes all it takes is a smile. Who knew a cookout could change a city?
This story was originally published on June 28, 2019