Bay Area National Night Out events help humanize cops

ByCarlos Saucedo and Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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Hundreds of National Night Out events were held by Oakland Police Tuesday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- National Night Out is happening all across the Bay Area Tuesday night. It's an annual event where law enforcement agencies engage with their communities.

There's also a social media challenge underway that is going viral -- showing everyday cops in a different light.

By now you've probably seen the viral videos on social media.

VIDEO: National Night Out events help humanize cops

Those who serve and protect showing off their lip sync skills in a video challenge.

Some of them are more highly produced than others, like San Francisco Police Department's video.

Either way, they've taken social media by storm, dance moves and all.

It's one way law enforcement agencies are showing a softer side.

"It makes it more human with all the stuff going on, people against cops," said Jacqueline Castaneda, a National Night Out planner in her Concord neighborhood.

She says the challenge is a nice change from other viral videos that show cops using excessive force.

"Our residents sometimes have a fear of contacting the police," Castaneda said. She hopes the challenge helps law enforcement build that trust.

In recent years, social media has strengthened that relationship.

"We're trying to engage where the community wants us to engage and right now that's on Facebook. That's on Instagram," said Lt. Nick Gartner with Concord Police.

But that face to face interaction is critical. That's where National Night Out comes into play. Concord Police will be attending events throughout the city.

In Oakland, police are holding more than 500 National Night Out "parties" across the city tonight. "Relationships count when it comes to crime solving and crime prevention," said Oakland police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

She understands the criticism that comes with policing but says there's a lot more community support. "If you were to go out tonight and meet the community, you would also see a lot of affirmation and a lot of support for the police department."

Oakland PD is working on its own lip sync challenge video. "We're in the planning stages, you just wait and see," said Kirkpatrick.

An event is also being held in San Francisco. Click here for more details.