Neighborhood association hosts appreciation dinner for first responders

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Eyewitness News has been talking about a new crime initiative called the Blue Pledge for weeks.

Many communities have been doing something similar for years and are getting results.

One of them is holding a special appreciation dinner tonight to thank their first responders.

It's for police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers here in northwest district and the neighboring southwest district to say thank you for a job well done.

The Eagledale Neighborhood Association has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

There were times when crime in the community was high with a lot of break-ins, vandalism and theft.

But community members say that has changed in a big way. Thanks to Crime Watch and strong partnerships, crime is down and the community is coming back strong.

"I think it's because of the community relations officer and the team that they have," said Jim Martin, a member of the Eagledale Neighborhood Association. "When they drive the streets, they see you out, they're going to stop and ask how you're doing and to me that is building a relationship."

The recent National Night Out was a similar event when many other communities held appreciation events for their local first responders.

But, it's a two-way street.

Each of the police districts in the metro area also host community days where first responders give back to residents who keep them informed.

Tonight's event starts at 6 p.m. and includes a pitch-in meal provided by residents, as well as awards and recognitions.