Tuesday, Carrollton took part once again in National Night Out, with about 35 block parties participating.
Jolene DeVito, spokesperson for the Carrollton Police Department, said officers were out all night, working to get to many block parties as possible.
DeVito said neighborhood and community safety begins with knowing your neighbors.
“National Night Out is a good way for people to step out of their houses and spend time together,” she said.
Police officers also use the night to connect with the community, but for the Carrollton Police Department, it’s not the only form of community engagement it utilizes.
The department has numerous programs including the police athletic league, the junior police academy, police explorers , UNIDOS, the citizens police academy and Coffee with A Cop in English and Spanish. The department has also been hosting active shooter training events for the public.
“We try to make sure we’re reaching out in numerous ways,” DeVito said.
DeVito said community engagement is a part of the culture at the department. It’s everyone’s job, she said.
Out of the many community programs, DeVito said the department would like to see more growth in the Police Athletic League. The program allows fourth- and fifth-graders from Central Elementary to form a futsal team under the guidance and direction of Carrollton officers. DeVito said the department would like to serve more kids through the program.
As for programs that have grown, UNIDOS is a prime example.
The program allows Carrollton’s Hispanic population connect and hear from officers. DeVito said when it first started, officers were unsure if people would show up. Today, participation is in the 100s.
UNIDOS has also opened the door for the police to invite the community to the department. DeVito said UNIDOS recently had its first meeting at the police department, which shows how comfortable the Hispanic population has gotten with Carrollton police.
“We thought that was a win,” she said.