MPD holds Thanksgiving Dinner for Riverwest and Harambee Neighborhoods

Making connections and building relationships; Milwaukee Police say that's one of the best ways to help reduce crime. Milwaukee officers did just that over Thanksgiving dinner.

 About 300 families were invited to come to Messmer Prep on Sunday to not only enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, but also to spend time together as a community and with the officers who work in this neighborhood everyday.

Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes: everything you want in a Thanksgiving meal was available at Sunday's dinner. But this year people from the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods got more than that.

"That sense of community really comes out. They're so grateful to see us and people just love talking with officers and having the resources here," said Officer Edward Ciano. 

With meals cooked by MATC culinary students, items donated by local businesses and time donated by police officers and Messmer Prep students, Officer Edward Ciano says it truly was a neighborhood effort. Ciano says in today's world where police and the community can often be at odds, something as simple as a meal can help strengthen their relationship. 

"It's about faith, family and community. As officers were in the community and you see one side of us, this gives officers the opportunity to show that   community support," said Ciano. 

"If the community would just give them a chance and get to know them instead of seeing them as just a shield and treat them like and individual then they'll know what kind of people that they are," said one of the people who attended this year's meal. 

Normally, District 5 delivers Thanksgiving meals to 5-6 families, but this year were able to feed more than 300 people, likely touching many more lives.

"Its a great thing and does it change how people feel about Milwaukee officers? It sure does," said Officer Ciano. 

"It feels nice to know the Milwaukee police department has our backs and they can spend their time off here in Milwaukee just to volunteer and to help us," said Chivia Moore, who also attended the dinner. 

Officer Ciano says he hopes to continue this event for many years to come .

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