KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – On Thursday, people in Kinston had a chance to sit one-on-one with their police chief over a glass of sweet tea.
It was all an effort to strengthen the department’s community relations.
The free event welcomed dozens of people looking to provide feedback to the police to better their community.
Police Chief Alonzo Jaynes said, “I’m very fortunate to have so many people attend but especially the young people. I didn’t know there would be that many young people come to this event so I’m ecstatic.”
There are few things that pair as well together as sweet tea and hospitality.
Chief Jaynes said community outreach is crucial for policing success.
“We’re talking about building trust between the police and the community and the more we have these events the more comfortable they are to reach out to us when they have issues, if there’s a crime in progress, the more comfortable they are to give us information and bring closure to a case,” said Jaynes.
The event saw dozens of people looking to share ideas with the chief, including Tony Kinsey.
Kinsey said, “Really it’s about the community. We see all the issues we see all the violence that’s taken over the city and some of us want to make a difference because we know that these kids deserve better.”
He said we all have a role in bettering the community.
“To me it’s more than just a police issue,” Kinsey said. “You know we can’t turn and look at the police department and say do something, that’s where the village is supposed to come together to do something.”
Fredrick Hamilton is a part of the Police Explores Program and follows the lead of Chief Jaynes.
“He reaches out to the public, you know, and goes to different places to recruit, to talk to them and see what they are going to be doing. And how it is out here and what they would do for them and like that,” said Hamilton.
Kinsey said he wants the community to bear more responsibility toward change.
“We’re supposed to create those opportunities for the young. We’re supposed to put these programs in place to try to help our young,” Kinsey said.