POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- At Poughkeepsie's third annual "Night Out," Detective Matthew Cutler was all smiles.
He had every reason to smile -- families were excited, the music was blasting and the food was free.
He said there was not this much focus on community policing when he became a Poughkeepsie officer 24 years ago.
"Geez. I was never exposed to anything like this," he said, just before listing some new (and revived) initiatives. "We just started back up the Police Athletic League this past year. We've done a fishing tournament out at Morgan Lake, and we're planning more things as we raise more money for the kids of the community."
Cutler and several others said the positive interactions at city hall on Tuesday evening are not just a once-a-year event, but it is now becoming part of the job.
"It's a good opportunity to do good," said Officer Colin Miller, who joined the department just last week.
During an interview with Spectrum News, it became clear that his training was different than that of Detective Cutler.
"We do foot patrols instead of just staying inside the cars," Officer Miller said. "We try to interact with the community in every way. We try to increase the numbers of positive community interactions every year, and we do things in our daily schedule to help affect that, such as the foot patrols and other events, not just a solid one party a year."
Officer Miller added that because of the community policing element -- and despite increased scrutiny and pressure -- "it's a good time to get in [to law enforcement] right now."