NORWOOD, Ohio (FOX19) - Norwood police hosted a Party in the Park Tuesday night in an attempt to break down barriers between police and the community.
“We just want to show an imprint of who we really are as people, that we’re here as members of their community to help them,” Norwood Police Lt. Ron Murphy said. “We don’t want them to see us as only doing work.”
Murphy says he has seen the tangible benefits of these community-focused efforts.
“If people dealt with us at a community event, they’re more trusting,” he said.
Police say the event was not held in response to the recent Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality. They maintain they hold these types of bridge-building events several times a year.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t important to Norwood families and those who work here.
Ben Parks, a Norwood resident, has four children — “four to look out for,” he says.
Parks says the police-sponsored party means that much more to him in the wake of the protests. He also says, for him and his family, seeing police in this type of setting makes all the difference.
“It’s really important to have that face-to-face interaction and see who people really are,” he said.
Ty Valez lives in Norwood. He owns a food truck that often circulates through the city’s streets. He agrees with Parks that the event sends a powerful message.
“This is what the community, this is what the world needs to see,” he said.
Valez adds the importance isn’t just for the people of Norwood.
“I think this event serves as a gesture, not just to the people of Norwood, but actually the city of Cincinnati, that ?Norwood actually is a place to come. Doesn’t matter if you’re white, Black. Doesn’t matter if you’re yellow, Latino. It doesn’t matter,” he said.