Kudos, Laurel Police Department.
In a day and age where residents are told to be skeptical of police, in Laurel they mingled and danced the evening away.
There were rich and poor, black, white and brown, men and women, boys and girls. And the funnel cakes were free! Do you know what those will cost at the fair next week?
For the first time, the event was moved into the parking lot at the Laurel Law Enforcement Complex, having spent many years at Mason Park. The annual nationwide event is an outreach program between the police and community.
Local businesses donated food and trinkets. Laurel police cooked hot dogs and fried fish. Kids played in the jumps and the music courtesy of Lt. Jim Thornhill, known to Pine Belt radio listeners as Jim Scott, had the place thumping. Through it all, police, fire and EMServ mingled through the crowd.
Police Chief Tyrone Stewart and the entire LPD helped inject a dose of community spirit and pride into its residents. And that is what they did. There were no lines or differences. For a night, we weren’t reminded that we were Democrat or Republican, Black or White. For a night we were a truly united group of friends, neighbors and strangers.
On Saturday, Laurel’s most anticipated annual event is shaping up to be the biggest Loblolly Festival ever. While you are there — and everyone should be there — take a few moments throughout the day to look around. There is something special about Laurel.
If we could export the spirit seen Tuesday night into every night, well, we should just put on the Satchmo record and listen to “What a Wonderful World.”
There are, and will continue to be, problems in every community in America. The daydream of a Utopian society is just that — a daydream. But when there is a public display of unity crossing every spectrum and includes the oft-criticized police department, it certainly is worth taking notice.
Moving National Night Out to the LPD was a great idea and we encourage the department to do the same next year. All activities were contained and there wasn’t a hint of any shenanigans.
Laurel, be proud today.
And bring your money clips Saturday … we hear there will be an incomparable “Taste of Home Town” cookbook for sale in front of our office on North Magnolia St.
We’re just sayin…