Police, Residents Gather for National Night Out in Salem, Mass. | NECN
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Police, Residents Gather for National Night Out in Salem, Mass.

Event comes during a turbulent time for police nationwide

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    Police in Salem, Massachusetts, and around the country gathered on Tuesday for 'National Night Out,' an annual program to build relationships with people in their communities. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016)

    Police in Salem, Massachusetts, and around the country gathered on Tuesday for 'National Night Out,' an annual program to build relationships with people in their communities.

    In Salem, a large gathering was held on Salem Common so that police officers could show the public exactly what their job entails.

    This is a great event where the community is out here having fun and enjoying with families, said attendee, Jhoan Vago.

    I think it's great for both ways, not only us who live in the city, but police officers also, said attendee, Gulsen Bekler.

    This year's event came during a turbulent time for police nationwide, as officers across the country have been killed and relationships with police have been volatile.

    They may get a bad rap, but overall, they're just looking to help, they're not looking to hurt anybody, said attendee, Rich Kraby.

    On Sunday night in Salem, two men were arrested - one for allegedly shouting obscenities at police and making a reference to police shootings across the country.

    I think there was a little rhetoric coming out of them, said Salem Police Chief Mary Butler.

    Despite one of the men having an police scanner app on his phone to hear exactly where Salem police officers were located, Butler said she doesn't believe their intent was to harm officers. Police said a search of the car did turn up a loaded rifle and handgun.

    We work in a really great community, but it's one of those things that you don't know, we've had an experience in April of this year where one of our officers was shot at, so it is problematic, it does put you a little on edge as an officer responding to calls, said Butler.

    Butler said overall, they've been fortunate to not experience what other places in the country have, but she said they've made some changes to their policing in the wake of the unrest.

    It's a little bit different now how we handle things in terms of making sure there's back up and people around and people able to handle whatever is going on, said Butler.

    Both men who were arrested Monday night are being held without bail on gun and drug charges until their arraignment.


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