About 50 residents gathered in a yard on Rhonda Lee Street in Copperas Cove for a night of neighborhood community fellowship.

The group grilled hotdogs and had dessert as they chatted with each other, some for the first time.

“I wanted to learn about my neighbors,” said Diane Davis, the event organizer who has lived on the street for a year.

The scene was similar for the more than 100 people who attended three other National Night Out block parties in Copperas Cove organized by the city’s police department.

National Night Out is an annual program that brings neighbors and first responders together to stand up against crime. The event focuses on getting people out of their homes and introducing them to each other so they can know who is supposed to be in their neighborhood and look out for each other, said Cpl. Dominique Moore, with Cove PD.

For area residents such as Leslie Cebellos, her neighborhood block party on White Mesa Circle provided that.

“We have been here for 2½ years and only know our next-door neighbors,” she said. Kris Grimes, who attended the White Mesa Party for the second year, said getting to know your neighbors helps build trust. “If everyone gets to know each other, then than we can watch out for each other.”

Neighbors on Rhonda Lee are already watching out for each other, said Kim Thompson. One of her neighbors called her when her garage was left open.

But the more support they can provide each other, the better it is for the neighborhood and the city, Thompson said.

National Night Out also strengthens ties between the city’s first responders and the residents, Moore said.Copperas Cove police and firefighters joined residents at their block parties.

“It builds that relationship and the rapport between the police department and the citizens we serve,” Moore said.

“It is definitely a reassuring sight that we have so many people out here and we can interact with them.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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