Cardell and wife Deloris Young have lived in central Fresno for about 40 years and always maintained a healthy relationship with police.
On Tuesday, the Youngs joined around 2,000 community members who came out to Manchester Center throughout the afternoon and early evening Tuesday for a National Night Out event hosted by the Fresno Police Department. The event was one of nine such gatherings held throughout Fresno.
“They’re reaching out to us, so we’re reaching out to them,” Cardell Young said.
For Young, 65, the event provided an important chance for his grandkids who came along to get to know police. He said the positive environment was healthy for young people.
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“It is important at this time, for the police and the community to come together,” Young said.
Tom Jaramillo, 54, turned out with three of his six grandchildren to provide them with a real experience of a police encounter.
If it wasn’t for police officers, firemen and ambulance people, we would be in trouble.
Tom Jaramillo, Fresno resident who brought three of his grandchildren to Manchester Center
“They are wanting to know why cops are beating up people, killing people, and it’s not all about that,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo’s 9-year-old grandson, Julian, mounted a Fresno police motorcycle, posed for pictures and, with encouragement from his grandfather, gave officers a thumbs up.
“If it wasn’t for police officers, firemen and ambulance people, we would be in trouble,” Jaramillo said.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer also appeared at the event, quickly becoming a celebrity as community members rushed to take pictures with their chief.
“I’m so excited to see these young kids that are out here interacting with our officers,” Dyer said.
For Dyer, more events like Tuesday’s would be a good thing.
“We could have a National Night Out every night in our city and it wouldn’t be enough,” Dyer said.
Outside, free hot dogs and snow cones were a hit under the day’s hot sun. But on the south end of the air-conditioned mall, usually empty, most people gathered for a display of antique vehicles, bike raffles, information booths and group photos with the men and women in uniform.
Jaramillo said he was proud of the experience his grandchildren were getting, but insisted that more people need to come out and interact with police.
He said, “If you want to trust someone, you’ve got to get close to somebody to trust them.”