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Brockport Night Out

Photo Credit: Marquis Larmond

By Shannon Blankenship | Editor-in-Chief 

The Brockport community aims to change the negative stigma surrounding the relationship between law enforcement and people of color. By hosting Brockport Night Out, the community engages with University Police (UP) every September to help bridge the gap between the two groups. 

President of the Men of Color organization Carlos Clark hopes the event creates a sense of security for students.  

“Brockport Night Out is to let students feel comfortable about University Police just being here,” Clark said. “They are here to help and support us. I feel like just building the connections is what’s most important.” 

Clark put an emphasis on how the engagement from law enforcement has benefitted the organization and event as a whole. Officers will sit in on meetings and discuss what plans are in place for the semester.  

“They’re just really looking out for us to see what they can do to incorporate themselves. They want to be involved as much as possible,” Clark said.  

From a law enforcement perspective, meeting the person behind the badge is the most important reason to be there.  

Chief of University Police Dan Vasile appreciates being a part of something bigger.  

“Years ago we recognized we needed to have better relationships with students, specifically students of color,” Vasile said. “Partnering with the Men of Color to do this event was a great way for all of us to get to meet each other and to get to know one another.” 

Brockport is not the only city to recognize this event. Every year communities across the United States strengthen their relationship with law enforcement. This day is known as National Night Out. The efforts taken on this day are to help change the narrative of this social sigma.  

“We definitely understand some students that come here might have preconceived notions about the police or had bad experiences back home,” Vasile said. “We want them to see us as their police department and we know that building community early on is a good step in this. A lot of the time people just get together and talk.” 

Senior member Marquis Larmond agrees that having an open line of communication between UP and the community benefits almost everyone.   

“It serves to build a bridge. UP speaking to us definitely helps to not just make them more comfortable but, some of the students too,” Larmond said.  

While Brockport Night Out may not mend all the fences between law enforcement and the community, it gives both groups the opportunity to see each other past their exterior.  

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