KNOXVILLE - Communities across the state Tuesday night welcomed visits by law enforcement as part of National Night Out.
It's an annual campaign that started more than 30 years ago to create relationships between communities and the agencies that protect them.
Neighborhoods across Knoxville and Knox County hosted deputies from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office as well as officers from the Knoxville Police Department.
Motorcycles, canines, helicopters, patrol cars all made their way across East Tennessee. One Sheriff's helicopter touched down in the Morgan Place neighborhood in Hardin Valley.
"We try to get the communities together to meet their neighbors and also meet the law enforcement officers,” said pilot Lt. Tony Chamberlain.
The evening events gave officers a chance to show off the tools they use to help fight crime, and for neighbors to show their support of the men and women in uniform.
“They put their lives on the line every day for us and they've been given a hard time this year so it’s important for us to show our support for them,” said neighbor Sheila Sparks.
She and her children stopped by the Morgan Place gathering to say "thank you."
“Because people get hurt or sick and they are always here to help,” said Sheila’s 11-year-old daughter Lexie.
National Night Out also provides a comfortable environment for neighbors to meet officers.
“People can meet the officers on a more personal level, in a relaxed setting, not because the officers are coming out because something has happened good or bad, but they can socialize with the officers,” said Chamberlain.
National Night Out typically occurs in most U.S. states in August. It happens later in Tennessee due to weather.