BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Saturday was the 5th annual Biloxi Family Festival Against Crime. While it may seem like nothing but fun and games, police and firefighters tell us this event, and ones like it, are absolutely essential in building a trusting relationship with the people they serve.
"You know, there are not a lot of safe, fun events. This teaches them as well as lets them know they can have fun," Biloxi resident Marcy Dalsin said.
Dalsin moved to Biloxi from Michigan six years ago. She says she appreciates law enforcement and first responders for continuing to step up and unite the community in a different way, and she wants her children, as well as others, to know who they can count on if they're ever in need of help.
"Children need to know that police officers and firemen are not there to harm, but to aid us and to help them. This just really stimulates and promotes that, especially in this community, and that's really what the community needs," Dalsin said.
Law enforcement officials, like Sgt. Jackie Rhodes with the Biloxi Police Department, and first responding firefighters, like Derrick Gates, say they know they can't always interact with the public under positive circumstances, so events like this add a little shine to their badges.
"This is a two way dialogue between us and the citizens," Rhodes said. "In Biloxi, we try to find every opportunity we can to add positive contact with the citizens, and this is a great opportunity for us to meet them and them to meet us."
"Anytime we get a chance to serve the public, we love it. That's what we're here for," Gates said.
The festival was sponsored by the Biloxi Police Department and the Biloxi Parks and Recreation Department.