CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- National Night Out is a national tradition which brings law enforcement and the people they protect together. This year it comes at a time when tensions are particularly high between police and the community.
Tuesday thousands across Central Virginia came out to celebrate with local law enforcement.
At a Chesterfield National Night Out event, a Chesterfield County Police Officer took a few seconds to share some of his nachos.
That kind of interaction is what neighbors said the event was all about.
"We really do need this," said one neighbor in Chester.
Thousands of events across the country are held for National Night Out.
The goal is to build a stronger relationship between the community and police officers, and in turn to help raise awareness about crime prevention.
"These type of events really offer us an opportunity to demonstrate we're humans," said Chesterfield Police Col. Theirry Dupuis.
In Richmond, neighbors said with all the tension going on across the country, a night like Tuesday was something every neighborhood needed.
"It's good to see everyone come together despite everything that has been going on," said one Richmond woman.
During times like this, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said an important part in building trust is starting with the youth.
"We just had probably 300 kids in camp, the police department so we can build that trust, build those relationships," said Chief Durham.
In Henrico County, kids decorated homemade cards for police officers and firefighters at one of their events.
"It's one time a year, but hopefully that concept spreads over the entire year driving that message home," said Henrico Police Chief Humberto Cardounel.