Just a few hours earlier, many of the officers enjoying hot dogs and talking to children at the two National Night Out events in Germantown, were on the scene of a horrific murder-suicide which took place just across town.
But those officers including Community Liason Officer Marus Dixon wanted to be out in the community to celebrate National Night Out. The annual event designed to generate neighborhood support and participation in crime prevention efforts and to enhance police and community relations.
“So often, people only interact with the police during crisis situations,” said Dixon while attending the Germantown Park community event on Cinnamon Drive. Dixon, who was the third MCPD officer on the scene of the murder-suicide four hours earlier in the day, said “It's vitally important for us officers to interact with the community during normal times to remind them that we are human and have feelings as well.”
“These events are extremely important, said Montgomery County’s Assistant Chief of Police Darry W. McSwain, who attended the celebration at Germantown Park. “First of all, we want people to realize that the police department is a part of the community and not a separate occupying entity, so to speak. In light of what has gone on around the country and the negative press that law enforcement has received in general, these events reaffirm that the vast majority of police and community contacts are good positive interactions, and will continue to be especially in Montgomery County.”
There was three National Night Out events in the Germantown area last night. The Germantown Park event, another took place at The Hamptons community just off Crystal Rock Drive, and another event in the Plantations II community in Damascus. At each event, MCPD brought a number of different vehicles, including squad cars, motorcycle units, as well as units from area Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service stations. However, the kids favorite at the Germantown locations was the mounted unit from The Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
Each location had members of the MCPD and MCFRS present as well as representatives from MoCo 311, and members of the Montgomery County Police Explorer Program helping residents and pitching in to set up and clean up the events.
Kenya Smith, the Germantown Park Community Manager, said holding this event in the neighborhood was a great way for the community to come together and support the police department in the efforts to keep them safe. “We are so happy to host this event,” said Smith. “We are glad the police department is here to support us and we want to be able to help support them in any way.”
“It has always been a very important to us to partner with the community, instead of having an adversarial relationship,” said Dixon. “Sometimes communities don’t trust the police and sometimes we don’t do an excellent job of interacting with the community. But we try very much to do so in Montgomery County, especially in the Fifth District, in light of everything that has happened in the last year.”
Lisa York, the Property Manager at the Hamptons at Town Center in Germantown, said, “It is a great opportunity for us to support the local police department. We have been promoting this throughout the Hamptons Community. We are very pleased with the turnout; we have a lot of Hamptons residents here, as well as folks from the surrounding Germantown communities as well.”
Officer Dixon explained that every year District Five tries to pick different sites for the National Night Out events in different parts of Germantown, Clarksburg, and Damascus. “This year we wanted to get back into the communities in smaller settings to be more intimate,” he said.
Top: Members of the Montgomery County Police Motorcycle Unit, with the MCPD Emergency Services Unit and an MCFRS unit at the Germantown Park National Night Out celebration.
Next: The children flocked to the horse representing The Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
Next: Mary Inniss and Kenya Smith share a smile at the Germantown Park event.
Next: A large turnout of residents the Hamptons at Town Center event off Crystal Rock Drive enjoyed a nice evening.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.