GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Across the country, communities came together to celebrate National Night Out. The Greenville Police Department didn’t let a little rain stop them from hosting their event in Uptown.
The Police Department met Tuesday with community members and, despite the weather, Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman said it was important for citizens to get out and see the personal side of the officers.
“It’s just a chance to know who those faces are behind the police cars and how they’re working hard to keep our community safe,” Holtzman said.
That’s what the 38th annual National Night Out did Tuesday night.
“We as a police department are nothing without a good relationship with our community,” Holtzman said.
After last year and the COVID-19 pandemic, Holtzman said it’s more important than ever to build those relationships.
“Especially with 2020, which was a year of unprecedented unrest across our country,” said Holtzman. “This is our chance to get back to say we’re still here, we’re here every single day serving our community.”
Meredith Hawke, director of Uptown Greenville, said these events bring the community together.
“It’s fantastic to be out here and have that collaboration with our city but also to welcome the community to different departments they may not know about that are here to support them,” Hawke said.
At the end of the day, Holtzman hopes Tuesday shows he and his officers are just people, too.
“It’s hard to hate when you’re on a first-name basis,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about. My name is Chief Holtzman but people call me Mark or Chief Mark because that’s easy for them. That’s really where we want to connect with our community.”
While Greenville hosted its National Night Out Tuesday night, Jacksonville will host its event on Thursday. It’ll take place at Riverwalk Crossing Park and the festivities will kick off at 5 p.m. Other such events across Eastern North Carolina will be held at other dates.