Free Carnival Brings Oakland Community Together

In an effort to build a sense of community, Oakland police teamed up with NFL stars Marshawn Lynch and Marcus Peters to bring a free carnival to dozens of Oakland children Tuesday.

The carnival provided free games and food to attendees. Oakland police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick felt it was an important step in building bridges between citizens and law enforcement.

“People trust people. They don’t trust you because of a title or stars or a uniform; they trust you because they believe in you,” Kirkpatrick said.

Doreen Hodges, Peters’ mother, was enthusiastic about the festivities.

“Everything is free,” she said. “They can eat and play games and hang out. A sense of community.”

In addition to the free carnival, the Oakland Police Department has taken other measures to foster that sense of community. Last week, Kirkpatrick met with former felons, returning residents whom she believes have something to offer to the community.

“I know you served your time, you paid your debt,” she said. “Can we bring you back into society and welcome you back in?”

Bobby Hookfin, a lieutenant with the Oakland police, agreed with Kirkpatrick’s sentiments. “You gotta build trust before you can get respect,” he said.

“The community is not going anywhere, law-enforcement is not going anywhere,” Hookfin added. “We have to erase this ‘us against them.’ It’s a we … we are in this together.”

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Free-Carnival-Brings-Oakland-Community-Together-512513452.html.

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