Big back-to-school giveaway and festival held by NYPD in Bronx

EDENWALD (WABC) -- 600 school children in the Bronx got the surprise of their life.

They received some 2,000 book bags and other school supplies as part of a massive giveaway organized by the NYPD.

People were dancing with cops, laughing with cops, and even dunking the cops.

If the people of the northern Bronx and the officers who protect them could have this much fun every day, they wouldn't need the 47th precinct.

But the fact is it's in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city. Crime is high and gangs are rampant. Residents need the police more than ever and they know it.

"We want to get to know them and this is the way to know them, to get to know them," said Claudette Shakes, an Edenwald resident.

Inspector Ruel Stephenson is determined to make that happen. At Thursday's back-to-school block party his officers gave away hundreds of backpacks and school supplies, and the message is obvious.

"I hope that when they grow up and they can remember one thing about the police, they can remember that these doors opened up for them and they had a positive contact with the police as they walked in through these doors, and that's what these officers here are doing," Stephenson said.

"I think the message is that education is more important than being violent," said Jaiden Harris, an Edenwald resident.

"We could help the police do like, help their job," said Nigel Addo, an Edenwald resident.

Timothy Green has lived in Edenwald his whole life. He says residents and the police need to see one another as partners with the same goals.

"The police in this town have had a tough time.

"And we know that they've had a tough time and that they make mistakes and they're human," said Timothy Green, an Edenwald resident. "They may make the right decisions, they may not make the right decisions, but getting more involved in the community will help them make the decisions better in the future."
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