STOCKTON — The turkeys were smoked, the sides were ready and Stockton families were all lined up at Loch Lomond Park to enjoy a warm meal and to talk about some very real issues the community and police officers face.
“It’s so sad because they are our protectors, and I don’t understand how people think that they’re not,” Stockton resident Barbara King said.
King said she supports the badge because she was friends with an Oakland police officer who had supported her through tough times.
“Very good friend of mine, he stuck behind me through cancer, and then when I called for him he had passed away, and I was feeling so sad about it,” she said.
Recent violence against police officers has also raised concerns.
“Horrible, there are way too many officers being gunned down across our country. But we need to recognize that the vast majority of our community absolutely supports us,” Stockton police Chief Eric Jones said.
Jones stopped by the event, which was sponsored by McDonald’s of San Joaquin County and the Support Stockton Police Officers Association.
Jones said a major reason why they chose the park for the community barbecue is because violence often strikes there.
“To say quite frankly, for this neighborhood, I’ve heard a lot about there’s too much gunfire in the neighborhood, of which we completely agree,” Jones said.
The game of hoops, the flashy patrol cars — all ways to show the neighborhood they can take back a part of their community and create something positive.
“I commend them for what they are doing, though I think they shouldn’t have to do this because they’ve been our side the whole time,” King said.
Jones said they’re also bringing more officers to the neighborhood to help curb crime.