Neighbors thankful for peace in neighborhood during Memorial Day cookout

Community leaders, Lynchburg police host Memorial Day cookout t prevent violence

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Children, including Reagan King, met and interacted with officers under different circumstances on Monday.

"I think its pretty cool that we get to talk to them and they'll interact with us,"King, eighth-grader said.

While the children satisfied their curiosity, the adults-- including Kevin May, who traveled from Hurt, Virginia-- benefited from the One Voice One Community cookout at Miller Park too.

"Just thought it would be fun to get the grandkids out and see the police and see what they had to offer," May said.

Police said that, on past Memorial Days, they've received a number of calls to Miller Park for fights.

"There's definitely a law enforcement presence here. We're not acting, like, as a security force in this instance. We're an occupying force of just building some relationships," Sgt. Jeff Rater said. 

In the last year, things have changed since community leaders and police started the cookout.

"I think last year we didn't even have a call for service here and a big part of that was One Community being here, pastors being here city employees being here," Rater said.

"That's what we're trying to emphasize today-- that you can have fun without worry about trouble, that the park is for everybody," James Camm, co-founder of One Voice One Community, said.

Given the recent spike in crime this year, community members say that, at least for a day, it feels good to know there's peace in their neighborhood.

"Families could just gather and be happy and be at peace and feel protected and safe for at least one day," Susie Rose-Robertson, a Lynchburg resident, said.