National Night Out events held across the state - WFSB 3 Connecticut

National Night Out events held across the state

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National Night Out in Hartford from a previous year. (WFSB file photo) National Night Out in Hartford from a previous year. (WFSB file photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

An event meant to bridge a gap between police and the communities they serve is being held Tuesday night.

It's part of the National Night Out effort.

Organizers said more than 16,000 cities and towns throughout the country were holding festivities, including Hartford, New London and Wethersfield.

A year ago, Hartford held its version of the National Night Out. Since then, residents have said that things have changed immensely for police and the people they serve.

In early July, the shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, followed by the killings of officers in Dallas by a black man along with several other incidents have fueled mistrust and fear in places across the country.

Organizers of National Night Out said they hope to quell those harsh feelings by bringing law enforcement and their neighbors together.

In Hartford, organizers said the goal is to build safer neighborhoods for everyone, especially those who live there and those who serve it.

"It just doesn't happen on National Night Out, it happens throughout the summer, but obviously on a night like this is when we can all stand together, all neighborhoods around Hartford and celebrate our unity and strength as a community," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.

"I'm glad they got to see the police officers and fire department here, what it does is bring the community together, we need that unity with the police department and the community," said Sahar Akim, of Hartford.

Wethersfield police said their event is an effort to reinforce shared goals of keeping neighborhoods safe.

National Night Out has been around since 1984 and stretches from the U.S. to Canada and military bases around the globe.

Meriden was also one of the communities holding a National Night Out, at Hubbard Park.

It was the 12th year for the free event, where 60 civic organizations and non profits showed up to share their services as well.

Two groups also taking part in the event were the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Meriden Police Department, with both hoping to use events like this one to build stronger relationships within the community.

"We are all about community service and helping our neighbors and getting to know everybody, especially after the incident that happened at our mosque...it's very imperative to do this as Muslims we want to come and show our solidarity with everybody," said Zahir Muhammed Mannan, of Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

"We want to build those relationships, to make sure that they can come to us and speak to us freely without having any repercussions whatsoever, we want an open relationship with the community and these are the types of event that help us build those bonds," said Meriden Police Sgt. John Mennone.

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