Sights and sounds: ‘National Night Out’ across Central Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News was on the move for ‘National Night Out’ on Tuesday, bringing you the news where you live from across Central Virginia.

From Richmond and Chesterfield to Henrico, Hanover and Petersburg, we spoke with police, residents and community leaders about what the annual event means to them and why it’s important.

At Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, we heard from Pastor Tyrone Nelson about why he feels ‘National Night Out’ is so important. His congregation hosted an event for the 11th year in a row Tuesday evening.

8News also spoke with Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham, who both expressed the utmost importance of bringing the community together and inspiring people to prevent crime.

At Ettrick Park, Anchor Amy Lacey caught up with Chesterfield County Police Chief Thierry Dupuis, who was celebrating his 10th National Night Out with the community.

During his time in Chesterfield County, Chief Dupuis said he believes the relationship between the community and police has improved ‘significantly.’

“10-fold, actually,” Dupuis said. “We stress the partnership and the relationship, because we know we can’t get our job done without the cooperation and partnership with the community.”

In Petersburg, Bethany Missionary Baptist Church was one several locations where National Night Out;’ events were being held in the city.

Rev. Eli Melvin told 8News Reporter Aaron Thomas that it was important for the churches to have a strong connection with the community and play a role in fighting crime.

“A lot of times those that are doing these crimes respect the church,” he said. “That’s the way it was when I was a little one, and we’re going back to that type of thinking.

Four Mile Run neighborhood in eastern Henrico, meanwhile, was one of roughly 80 neighborhoods in the county participating in National Night Out. The neighborhood has hosted an event each year since 2011.

8News Reporter Kristin Smith spoke with Valerie Walters, President of the Homeowner’s Association, who was preparing to host 300-400 people.

“We have over 400 homes in the community,” she explained. “This is a thing we started doing to give back to the homeowners, let everyone meet each other and know who our neighbors are so we can look out for each other.”

The ‘National Night Out’ festivities operated a little differently in Hanover County, where the community began celebrating in the morning.

The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has done it that way every year since 2011 — they kick off ‘National Night Out’ with a fun daytime event at the Mechanicsville Target. Hanover Fire & EMS, as well as several local organizations, host everything from face painting to a dunk tank.

“I think it’s awesome to have the kids come out and meet other people in the community,” county resident Shannan Skrdla said. “You have the police officers, you have the firefighters; I mean, it’s good for them to know them and feel comfortable with them. That’s really, really important.”

Sheriff David Hines added, “it’s about bringing the community together to celebrate those things that are best about the community itself and for Hanover; it’s what you’re seeing here today.”

MORE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM ACROSS CENTRAL VIRGINIA

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