GAINESVILLE, TX-Gainesville residents got up close and personal with law enforcement and emergency responders Tuesday night as part of the annual "National Night Out."
Gainesville police and fire departments held an open house for "National Night Out" hoping residents, not only see what goes on behind the scenes, but also put a face to the officers who protect their community.
The police department set up displays in the squad room, showing everything from illegal drugs they might find on the streets to weapons used by the special response team. They also gave out pamphlets encouraging the community to buckle up while driving. Outside, kids got inside fire trucks and police cars.
Gainesville police captain, Mark Brazelton, hoped the open house will help citizens get to know their law enforcement officers.
"It gives the children confidence around police officers and firemen and see the equipment and see what's going on instead of wondering and being afraid of them," he said.
Brazelton said "National Night Out" will also help raise awareness of police programs combating drugs and narcotics as part of their efforts to fight crime.
During the open house, some residents voiced concern about crime in the area.
Donnie Stradley, grew up in Gainesville and said there's more crime now than when he was growing up.
"Things have changed so much, there's 27 different gang affiliates now in Cooke county. The guys are, you know, trying the best they can. We have on-campus cops, back when I was in school, we didn't have any of that. So, it is a scary thought that these kids are in this on a daily basis," he said.
If you're interested in learning more about law enforcement, you can get involved with Gainesville's Citizens Police Academy.