National Night Out Against Crime in Newburgh
It's billed as a partnership between police officers and the community they serve. This year is the 15th year of the National Night Out Against Crime in the City of Newburgh. And as our Christian Farrell tells us, some in the city believe this event is needed now more than ever before.
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NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- "We need to be more proactive. We're very reactive right now because of our reduced strengths," said Michael Ferrara, Newburgh Police Chief.
City of Newburgh Police Chief Michael Ferrara admits his department is working on changing its public image, and what better place to start the process than the city's "Night Out Against Crime?" It’s an annual community-police partnership event held in thousands of communities nationwide.
"People come out for this event, and look forward to it," Ferrara explained.
"The police is something we all need, in this community and every other community," said Mark Coolidge, a Newburgh resident.
Five months ago, it was the fatal shooting by Newburgh police of Marc Coolidge's nephew, Michael Lembhard, 22, that led to numerous anti-police protests in the city. While a grand jury investigation later cleared cops of any blame in the shooting, some say the incident further strained the fragile relationship cops and local residents have in this "high-crime" city.
"We have to focus on what we're doing that's right, instead of the things that go wrong, if we really want to make the changes that we're doing," said Judy Kennedy, Newburgh mayor.
Those involved with putting together the National Night Out Against Crime say ultimately what determines if an event like this is a success is the amount of kids they can get picking school over crime.
According to Pastor Donald Sadler of The Life Fellowship Church in Newburgh, really reaching children with that message can reverse this city's direction.
"It's our goal to reach the generation that's below us, the next generation. To guide them up right so they won't make some of the mistakes that we have made. If anybody would think of giving up at this time, they're deadly wrong. Newburgh that once was, can be again," said Sadler.
...Starting with cops, kids, and a community all getting along.