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Midvale Park residents get a chance to meet law enforcement at neighborhood festival

Posted at 10:21 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-30 01:22:03-04

On Saturday afternoon, residents of Midvale Park - a neighborhood on Tucson's south side - had a chance to interact with local law enforcement. The Tucson Police Department, S.W.A.T. Team, Bomb Squad, and Pima County Sheriff's Department were there, teaching people about certain aspects of their jobs.

TPD First Sergeant Joe Merrill says a lot of people have the wrong idea about the south side.

"There's a stigma with the south side," he said. "Which I don't appreciate. I know the people that live down here don't appreciate."

One of those people is Midvale Park resident Michael Herrier -- who decided he wanted to retire in Tucson.

"Very safe," he said. "I moved here from California and I am very happy."

The local law enforcement agencies teamed up with the Midvale Park Neighborhood Association to put on a festival, designed to bring the community together. Part of that mission included having officers explain how they approach certain situations, why they do certain things, and showing neighbors the various pieces of equipment they have.

Another key point? Reminding the community that law enforcement officers are a part of the community as well.

"To let our residents know that they're on our side, and we're on their side. You know?" Herrier said. "This is a community that needs the police support, and the police need our support as well."

By showing up to this event year after year, Sgt. Merrill hopes the Midvale Park community will continue to embrace law enforcement, and won't be uncomfortable approaching them. He says everybody needs to work together to achieve a common goal: safety.

"Figure out what their problems are, and how we can solve it, together. Not a, 'hey it's your problem, deal with it,'" he said. "It's everybody's problem. It's community's, it's the police department, the fire department's -- we need to work together, as a community, to solve those problems."