OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) - As some police departments in our area get ready for National Night Out Tuesday night, the country-wide effort to improve relationships between officers and the people they serve, others are protesting, and one local activist is condemning the event entirely.
Across town, a group of people spent the afternoon voicing their distrust for police. They are led by local activist and Lawyer Stacy Shaw.
KCTV5 News asked Shaw about National Night Out, she said it’s sad to be talking about National Night Out while some are protesting law enforcement in Kansas City.
“We do not have the ability to work with people that have no respect for the humanity of the most vulnerable amongst us, and so not only do I think that it’s ill-conceived this National Night Out, it’s also a symptom of this radical individualism,” Shaw said.
Shaw and others want action after a video was released appearing to show an officer place his knee on a pregnant woman’s back. Police tell KCTV5 News the officer was careful not to hurt her. He was arresting her for interfering in another man’s arrest.
In Overland Park, Officer John Lacy says what happens in other jurisdictions and parts of the country impacts relationships with his community. He says he knows some people are at odds with officers, but says National Night Out is about having those conversations.
“We’re still going to continue to try. We understand that there are people who do not like the police, things of that sort, but we’re still going to try, we’re still going to reach that olive branch,” Officer Lacy said.
Officer Lacy says knowing about crimes is helpful, but the focus is also on regaining and further establishing trust.
“Our citizens, they come out and they tell us what's going on in their neighborhood. If there is a situation, maybe it's a drug house, maybe it's speeding in the neighborhood, we need to know these types of crimes are occurring in their neighborhood,” Officer Lacy said.
National Night Out is typically held the first Tuesday in August, it was postponed to Tuesday night because of the pandemic.