CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Tuesday night cities across the United States took steps to strengthen police and community partnerships as a part of National Night Out.
Police say it's about building relationships and trust with members of the community.
For kids, it's a chance to get free pizza and hot dogs, but it’s also a way for cops to show they're not the bad guys in their neighborhoods.
"The police can get to know them,” parent David Knox said. “You don't have to go the crime route, you don't have to go the negative route, you can be a kid and be cool."
Deanna McKinney's teenage son Tymel was shot and killed in April.
She spoke to crowds Tuesday night, preaching that a stand must be taken.
"We need to save our children and put away the childish things and do what we have to do to raise our kids properly so it doesn't happen to someone else," she said while at Orchard Manor.
McKinney said communities have to come together like they did Tuesday night all the time and not just once a year.
Police were scheduled to appear at 9 locations in Charleston as part of the event.
The event has been going on nationally more than 30 years. It was put together by the National Association of Neighborhood Watches.