KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- “I think it`s wonderful, I think it`s excellent that they`re in the community, giving back to the community, just like we give back to them, and I love it,” said Delores Gardner, a Kansas City resident.
As tensions over deadly police encounters and the Dallas sniper attacks mounts, so does local support.
Local police are attending community events, and the community is making sure they know they`re appreciated.
Kansas City, Missouri, police officers soften their image and drop in during Kansas City’s National Teddy Bear Picnic day at the Kansas City Museum.
“A lot of times, officers get seen as only enforcement, so we come out to let them see us as more human beings,” said Sgt. Andrew Uptegrove, with the KCMO Police Department.
Sgt. Uptegrove has been an officer almost a decade. He`s in charge of the police department`s Hot Spot initiative - which has three elements - one of which is community engagement.
“Each weekend we have five officers that come out into the community,” Sgt. Uptegrove added.
People attending the party on the front lawn of the museum packed a picnic, blankets, and enjoyed an afternoon of fun in the park with music, games, and crafts.
Officers walked around handing out goodie bags and teddy bears to the kiddos.
“Today we`ve had a lot of people just being very appreciative of us,” Sgt. Uptegrove said, “We`ve gotten a lot of praises and thank-yous.”
In light of recent events involving police officers around the country --- many feel it's important that police and the community form a strong relationship.
“I think we need to have a better understanding about what the policeman`s role is, and I think the policemen need to have a better understanding of what our role is as citizens and people, and I think if we all work together, we`ll come up with a common solution of how we can help one another in that we won`t have incidents like what happened in Texas,” added Gardner.