High Springs Police focus on bridging the gap between residents and officers on “National Night Out”

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. (WCJB) -Amid a violent summer in North Central Florida, some law enforcement agencies and residents are going out to claim back the night. Officials with the High Springs Police Department focused their “National Night Out” event on bridging the gap between residents and officers.

Chief of Police Antoine Sheppard explains it is important for everyone to understand officers are focused on helping people.

“What law enforcement in general finds is that a lot of times the community does not trust us, and they will not work with us to ensure prosecution and convictions of those defendants that are involved,” said Sheppard. “We have to breakdown those walls of communication by many methods, including this.”

A mother of three who lives in High Springs thinks these interactions have a positive impact because it shows that the officers have a heart.

“They are here to protect us. Also, they are here to have fun like we are, and they are human beings,” said Tina Salyers.

RELATED STORY: High Springs Police hold ‘Pizza with the Police’ event

Salyers and her family, along with others, also walked away, better understanding how officers approach different situations.

Sheppard thinks this event and others like it can help people better communicate with officers, which in return, can help stop the rise in gun violence in neighboring cities, including Gainesville.

“I hope people take this inspiration to know that you are going to take back your neighborhood, you are going to take back your communities. You’re going to convince those who have guns to put down those guns or suffer the consequences of being locked up,” said Sheppard. “We have to put peer pressure on those to do the right things and say what they see.”

To find out more information about “National Night Out,” click here.

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