08/03/05 — Getting to know the neighbors

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Getting to know the neighbors

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on August 3, 2005 1:51 PM

The Rev. Dr. Louis Leigh Jr. urged Wayne County residents to be like Moses, turning back law-breakers and teaching their children to follow the law.

Leigh referred to the biblical leader during his speech Tuesday night at the 22nd annual National Night Out that drew a crowd estimated at 1,000 people to Herman Park.

The annual event is aimed at fostering better relationships between neighbors and law enforcement authorities.

Leigh said parents should be more concerned about their children's academics.

"Let's make sure our young boys are in school making the honor roll so that they can have a future for themselves and so our officers can take time with crime prevention rather than booking young men for felonies," he said.

Leigh said law officers need to know that the public is behind them. The result will be a better community, he said.

Organizers of the event said they were pleased with the turnout, one of the largest in years.

"It was a wonderful crowd," said police Cpl. Teresa Cox. "There were a lot of kids. That's who we're trying to reach. ... It brings law enforcement and the community together. When I see this, it touches my heart."

Rosemary Singleton said it was the first such event she has attended. She said was impressed by the fellowship of the crowd that crossed all neighborhood and ethnic lines.

"If there were no color barriers, this world would be a better place," she said.

Pam and Steve Jordan, who live near the park, said it also was the first National Night Out that they have attended. They said they heard the noise and came to see what was happening.

"I think it's good for the community to come together like this," said Mrs. Jordan.

During the opening ceremonies, Goldsboro Mayor Al King paid tribute to law-enforcement officers for keeping the county and city safe.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said authorities need the eyes and ears of residents in order to be effective.

"In this day and time, with terrorism in the news daily, it is more important than ever for all of us to become involved to combat crime," Winders said.

Goldsboro Police Chief Tim Bell said the size of the turnout indicated the community's "concern and support for law enforcement."