DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The nation’s biggest community crime watch event comes to Texas on Tuesday night, and the nation’s top prosecutor is in Dallas to take part. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be at the University of North Texas at Dallas campus for National Night Out.
The event is now in its 33rd year, and aims to bridge the gap between police forces and the communities which they serve. The annual gatherings this year come at a time of heightened tension, where many citizens are feeling a divide between themselves and the men and women who wear a badge.
Lynch is expected to be joined Tuesday night by Mayor Mike Rawlings, retiring police chief David Brown, other officials from the Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas, and area crime watch groups. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and comes just a day after the U.S. Attorney General visited Sunset High School.
“I always go to a high school or somewhere I can talk to young people,” Lynch told the Dallas students, “because I feel like you all have your finger on the pulse of what’s really happening, and you also won’t be afraid to tell me.” Lynch added that an open dialogue is the key to solving our nation’s troubles.
While there is always room for improvement, Lynch hopes to learn Tuesday about what Dallas leaders are doing right. “We’re hoping that you can have some insight that can help other jurisdictions that are hurting right now,” she said, “that are looking for some answers now.”
“It will give Dallas much-needed exposure, because it’s a great city and this area needs some exposure,” said graduate student Nathaniel Brown.
University junior Amelia Blacksher is eager to hear what Brown has to say before he departs from the police force. “Hopefully get to join in, see what he has to say. I heard he’s retiring, so that’s pretty cool,” she said.
Anybody can attend the Tuesday event with Lynch. There will be free food, live music and even a petting zoo. Last year’s event brought out about 700 people, and this year is expected to see larger crowds. If you cannot attend that specific event, there are dozens of other National Night Out events planned in just Dallas alone.
You can also likely find a National Night Out gathering in your own community. Check your city’s website for details. National Night Out takes place each year in Texas on the first Tuesday of October. All other states hold their events on the first Tuesday in August.