Cops and community gather for ‘National Night Out’

Socially distant event strengthens bond between law enforcement and residents

Community members had the opportunity to meet their local law enforcement officers during National Night Out.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – There was police activity in Lynchburg Tuesday, but not to fight crime. The department participated in “National Night Out,” an annual event focused on strengthening the bond between law enforcement and the community.

But as with other events over the last few months, this gathering was moved from August to October and was much smaller due to the pandemic.

Police joined residents for a socially-distant cookout while taking other safety precautions.

Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema stressed the department’s connection with the community following violent demonstrations earlier this year.

“If we’ve heard anything as a part of this movement, it’s that we’re going to continue to listen to our residents. We held six listening sessions this summer. We got a lot of really good feedback from folks in our community, and I think that’s an ongoing process" said Zuidema. “That’s not something we’re ever done. We need to constantly have our ears open to listen to those concerns because those concerns could change over time.”

Lynchburg residents were asked to leave their porch lights on all night to show solidarity with fighting crime in their neighborhoods.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.