Darron Mayes stood inside the 13th Avenue Dream Center gymnasium Tuesday evening beside Brayden Carnegie. Mayes, a 15-year-old Bradenton Police Explorer, took Brayden’s hand in his and helped the 6-year-old Bradenton boy take his fingerprints on a piece of paper.
“You want to give this to your mom and keep it in a plastic bag,” Darron told Brayden. “Want a sticker?”
After Brayden was given a shiny police badge sticker, he brought his new personal identification kit to his grandmother, Carolyn Carnegie, who sat on the bleachers.
It’s an event that brings people out to bring law enforcement and our community together. It’s to help bring awareness to crime prevention.
Bradenton Police Officer Scottie Camacho
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It was a small moment of many during National Night Out, which organizers describe as an annual community-building campaign to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Though officers with the Bradenton Police Department showed their presence at multiple National Night Out gatherings, the agency helped organize the one at the 13th Avenue Dream Center in Bradenton.
“It’s an event that brings people out to bring law enforcement and our community together,” said Bradenton police officer Scottie Camacho. “It’s to help bring awareness to crime prevention. One of the biggest things is remembering to lock car doors, lock your homes up, not leave items in the cars when you are out shopping. ... and to be aware of your surroundings.”
Inside the gym, children squealed with joy as they played in an inflatable fire safety house under the watchful eyes of members of the department. Two Bradenton Police Explorers painted children’s faces at a table nearby.
Carolyn Carnegie, 68, had just gotten off the phone when her grandson brought her the paper with his new fingerprints. Darron came over shortly after with three small bags of Skittles candy and two Dum Dums to give to Brayden.
I respect our policemen and I appreciate the job that they do and I know it’s a hard job. They do have a hard job to do.
Carolyn Carnegie, Bradenton resident, on law enforcement
“I love Skittles too, you know,” the retired postal worker told Darron.
“You want some?” the teenager asked her with a smile.
“I’ll take one,” she said, laughing.
Carnegie said she was driving with her grandson early Tuesday evening when she saw a bunch of police vehicles near the center. She said she grew worried because of the 2013 killing of Brenton Coleman Sr. there and was hoping crime had not struck again in the neighborhood.
Carnegie said she understood part of the purpose behind National Night Out is to build relationships between law enforcement and the community and thought it was a good idea.
“We really need it right now, you know, because a lot of things have happened in the past that are just wrong on each side,” she said. “I respect our policemen and I appreciate the job that they do and I know it’s a hard job. They do have a hard job to do.”