Rockford Police, the United Way and Rockford residents came out together on Wednesday for the fourth annual Strong Neighborhood Block Party on Revell Avenue.
Girl Scout Brielle Pierce has been to every Strong Neighborhood Block Party since the first one held in 2015. She’s been a big part of the event as well, making crafts for those at the party, and planting a garden at the neighborhood’s Strong Neighborhood House. She says she loves being able to make an impact through through the block party.
“To be a Girl Scout and to do all this, I feel like it’s really fun,” she said.
The idea of holding block parties came from the Rockford Police and the United Way, as they considered methods to build better relationships within a community that sometimes viewed police officers as adversaries.
“It’s nice not have to be there to respond to problems, [but] to see people out here, just being themselves, and getting to know everybody,” said Officer Rich Dodd.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a block party without the police being able to show off some of their high-tech gear. A new police robot has been added to the Bomb Squad, and it can climb up stairs and open doors.
In the end, the gathering — and all of it’s offerings — seeks to provide an important message to the Rockford community:
“We want to make sure that people, that these neighborhoods, are important. That getting to know your neighbors is important,” said Grant Schubert, Neighborhood Impact Manager at the United Way. “Understanding your resources, being able to communicate with the Rockford Police Department in a a non-emergency setting, where you can just, kind of, have a casual conversation.”
Five more block parties are scheduled to take place during this summer. The next will take place on June 13th at the Strong Neighborhood House on 8th Avenue.