08/03/11 — Mount Olive residents meet their local police

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Mount Olive residents meet their local police

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 3, 2011 1:46 PM

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Tysnown Miller, left, talks with Mount Olive Police Chief Brian Rhodes during the National Night Out celebration held at Nelson Street Park in Mount Olive.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Several hundred people braved Monday evening's steamy weather to enjoy free food, games, displays of fire, rescue and law enforcement vehicles and each others' company at the town's National Night Out celebration at Nelson Street Park.

"We are giving crime a goodbye party," said Douglas Miller, a member of the Men of Faith, Integrity and Commitment, which spearheaded the event. "That is the purpose of all of this, to rid our neighborhoods, and especially this park, starting with this park, of crime and violence and all of the junk that comes along with crime."

The festivities were held from 5 to 8 p.m. and concluded with a community march from Nelson Street Park to Town Hall.

It included free hot dogs, chips, drinks, watermelon, bingo, karate demonstration and fire and rescue vehicles, police cars and cruisers from the Sheriff' Offices from Wayne and Duplin counties.

"It all about getting to know your neighbors and your community -- something a lot of communities have gotten away from now," police Chief Brian Rhodes said. "I am pleased with it. The community seems to have opened its arms and welcomed us. I hope this will continue. When National Night Out first started we had them. The participation had just dropped off to nothing, so we quit doing it.

"This year I was contacted by Al Southerland who is a member of the Men of FIC and they wanted to start this thing back up again and they have adopted Nelson Street Park as one of their projects and wanted to have it down here. It has been really nice. The way I look at it if we have people who are interested in their community we need to support them and everything they do."

Another celebration headed up by Ann Dewar was held in her Ann Street neighborhood.

"They (organizers) want you to get out and meet your neighbors," Rhodes said.