Union City Police Chief Strives Toward Community Trust

It’s a part of Union City history many would like to forget, especially police.

More than four decades ago, the city's police chief, William Cann, was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet during a police-community conflict.

Though it was a long time ago, the tight-knit community is still working to rebuild relationships, continuing Tuesday night with National Night Out.

"Even though it was 42 years ago, we are one of the only cities in America where a sitting police chief was assassinated because of police-community tension," said Chief Darryl McAllister.

That’s one of the reasons why National Night Out is special for McAllister.

"We pledged to serve when we were hired, and we’re still doing that," he said. "It’s hard to do that when you’re in an environment of doubt."

Those very types of doubt turned deadly for police officers in Dallas and and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the wake of those shootings, McAllister traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to help police department’s build up community trust.

McAllister's himself has been working on that very trust for the past three years in Union City.

"Not a lot of law enforcement officers are struggling with fearing people who live in the community they actually serve," said Mark Gaskins, of Bethel Baptist Church. "It's their community; they are a part of the community."

Something the chief takes to heart.

"If trust is what we’re all after to try and turn this narrative around, it kind of makes sense that we know the people we’re seeking the trust from and that they know us," McAllister said.

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