Making the rounds of a dozen National Night Out block parties Tuesday, Kilgore Police Chief Todd Hunter didn't begrudge the wet weather.
"I hate that it was a bad night, but we all needed the rain," he told visitors to BJ and Martha Clark's neighborhood get-together. In the end, it just meant that more parties moved indoors or under cover, giving neighbors a chance to get comfortable with each other: " "This night is meant for coming out and getting to know each other, exchanging phone numbers. When you go out of town, you've got someone to call."
Making the rounds of parties with Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows, City Manager Josh Selleck and Mayor Ronnie Spradlin, Hunter thanked party hosts for bringing their neighborhoods together to meet-and-greet local first responders.
"We've got a great city that we live in. We're so blessed," Hunter said. "It all comes down to having the same values and working together, we appreciate that.
"We appreciate the support that we see in public safety, both police and fire."
Those firsthand relationships are key, Hunter added: residents should feel comfortable calling the police if they sense something out of the ordinary. Don't hesitate, he emphasized: a simple call could protect a neighbor from a crime.
"If you see something, say something. That holds true everywhere," he said, "and it certainly holds true here."
Including the chief, there are 37 officers policing the City of Kilgore. They can't be everywhere.
"You're our eyes and ears, and we appreciate that," Hunter said. "Crime was on a downward trend, and then we went into the oil crunch and the economy issue. It went up a little bit.
This year it's down again, and I'm happy to say that."
Officers updated party-goers on KPD efforts and activities Tuesday night. To learn more about available services, call KPD at 903-983-1559.