National Night Out focuses on community, police relations

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- As the Memphis community remembers fallen Officer Sean Bolton, neighbors are using a national event as a way to improve relationships between police and the public.

Tuesday night is the National Night Out, which strives to bring people together and educate residents about police programs.

A memorial to Bolton now sits in the driveway where he died, gunned down after shining a spotlight on a car that was parked illegally.

"It could have happened on our street where we live. It could happen to anybody," Memphis resident Josh Walton said after he and his family came out to pay their respects.

Walton met Bolton several times through friends who work for the Memphis Police Department.

But not everyone appreciates and trusts police in our community. Rev. Keith Norman said that has to change and change quickly.

Some plan to use the National Night Out as an opportunity to strengthen relationships between the community and MPD.

"One of the things that we don't say often enough to the men and women who serve is thank you, because they literally put themselves in harms way everyday to protect our lives," Norman said.

Race relations are reported to be at an all time low, but Walton said the problems in Memphis cannot just be spelled out in black and white.

"It doesn't matter. White, Black, Hispanic, whatever you are — you do the crime, you do the time."

As a public servant and a war veteran, there is no doubt Memphis lost a hero in Bolton. It is a loss Walton hopes we can learn from, because now is the time to band together to end the violence.

"It's got to stop somewhere," he said.


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