Law enforcement thanks neighbors, community for partnership on National Night Out

Columbus, GA (WTVM) - Law enforcement agencies in the Fountain City and East Alabama made their way across different neighborhoods in the valley for National Night Out.

For the past 17 years, law enforcement throughout Columbus has united for National Night Out with the goal of strengthening the partnership between police and the community.

" Let other people know, especially the criminals," said Corporal Angela Florence with Columbus Police Department, "that we are working together, because without the community, law enforcement is ineffective, and without law enforcement, the community wouldn't be protected, so it's an awesome opportunity."

"I think there's sometimes the idea that a lot of people don't support law enforcement," said Muscogee County Sheriff, Donna Tompkins. "But, you know, I campaigned, and I went all over this city, and there is a lot of support for law enforcement in this community. We want the community to know we appreciate that support, we need that support."

Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren told News Leader 9 his department visited more than 40 neighborhoods, receiving a warm welcome from citizens waiting at local churches, recreation centers, and other landmarks. "Everything we've seen is just exactly like said: very friendly, welcoming, very supportive," Boren said. 

In most of the stops, a line of hot food and eager faces waited to interact with the people who serve and protect them. 

"The best way to draw them together is with food," said Linda Robinson, president of the "Columbus Against Drugs" organization. 

This event, for many like Robinson, also offers the opportunity to ask other neighbors to help prevent crime in neighborhoods by being honest with the police.

"You don't have to take all the crap that's going on in your neighborhood and just not say anything," Robinson said. "You got to open your mouth, before tragedy comes to your house."

Both Sheriff Tompkins and Chief Boren told News Leader 9 that their departments will continue to ask the community to help them prevent as much crime as possible.

Information from Columbus Police Department's records shows there have been 22 homicides in 2017 so far. In the last five years, including 2016, that figure has ranged from 22 to 26 homicides in Muscogee County per year.

Chief Boren and Sheriff Tompkins said law enforcement often sees these trends during the summer months, and that they often have to factor in the size of a growing city like Columbus.

"One crime is too many," Boren said, "but we live in a big city, and in these big cities come big-city problems, and we're very proactive."

"I think it's important for the community to know that we are a united front," Tompkins said, "and we're here for the public."

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.