Hartford’s National Night Out builds community trust with law enforcement

Hartford law enforcement participated in a nationwide event called “National Night Out”.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - Hartford law enforcement participated in a nationwide event called “National Night Out”.

The event is a way to for law enforcement agencies to engage with their local communities. Police departments across Connecticut participated in National Night Out, including Hartford.

Hartford Police are working to build trust with the community, at a time when Hartford is seeing summer crime and homicide numbers skyrocket.

“I think this is awesome. It just brings everyone together. I think we need this as a community, especially the way the times are going,” says Hartford resident Tagtanamai Cruz.

Hartford has seen over 20 homicides in 2022 alone. The latest one was a shooting on Monday night that left one man dead, and two others injured.

“It’s on everyone’s minds all the time. Many of these officers that are here today were working on those incidents earlier this morning and yesterday,” says Hartford Police Chief Thody.

Hesitation towards law enforcement is common. “Well, you know it’s funny because when I was a kid, I didn’t really want to be a police officer either. A lot of that was the narratives you hear from the kids in cities like Hartford,” says Hartford Police officer Steven Austin.

But changing that narrative and having conversations with residents is all part of an effort to make Hartford a safer place.

“What makes us all human? What do we have in common? What we all have in common is that we all bleed red, we love our country, and we want to take care of our city,” says Austin.

They say help from residents is key.

“We can’t be everywhere. The 120,000 plus residents are here all the time and they’re our eyes and ears. The more they help us the better we can do our job and the safer the community becomes,” says Chief Thody.

Mayor Luke Bronin says events like National Night Out are important to build a connection between police and residents.

“It’s not about community and someone in uniform, it’s about particular individuals knowing one another and having that relationship,” says Bronin.

The ultimate goal is to keep Hartford safe by bringing the community together.

Hartford Police Sgt. Steven Austin talked about the importance of police connecting with the community during National Night Out.