Officers from the University of Houston Police Department and the Houston Police Department converged at the Student Center South Circle Drive in early October for a good cause.
The law enforcement agencies, along with the Division of Student Affairs, Campus Safety, Fire Life and Safety, Campus Recreation, and the Forensic Center of Excellence united at the Student Center South Circle Drive for National Night Out, the annual community-engagement event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
The event, held annually on the first Tuesday in October, saw nearly 500 attendees pay a visit during the two-hour event. The students and officers filled the circle drive with smiles, laughter, dance battles, and giant Jenga games.
“This is exactly what I wanted,” said UH Police Chief Cesar Moore. “We have a great relationship with our community, and this is further evidence of how UHPD gets along with members of the UH community.”
Upon arrival, students were given a passport to have stamped by each table. Once filled out, they could turn it in for a snow cone. Visiting all the tables allowed students to learn about campus safety services offered to them on campus. Sometimes, learning about them for the first time.
For some students, National Night Out gave them an opportunity to ask questions about potential career opportunities with law enforcement. HPD Assistant Chief Chandra Hatcher and her colleagues were ready to answer questions.
“Our recruiting division is out here because we’re always looking for phenomenal officers,” said Hatcher. “And a college campus is a wonderful way to find young adults who are interested in joining law enforcement and connect them with us.”
Freshman Miyanda Clark took the opportunity to do just that. She asked questions, and while the exploratory studies major was leaning towards a career in the military before attending National Night Out, Clarke said she’s now leaning towards law enforcement.
For others, National Night Out gave them an opportunity to see officers in a different setting.
Haley Heyman, a freshman, planned to attend National Night Out strictly for the snow cone but got roped into a game of Jenga with UHPD officers. The game and the event shed a new light on officers for Heyman.
“It’s really nice because typically all you see is them actually working,” said Heyman. “And so, you actually get to see the human behind the badge.”