Newkirk Park- Clinton, NC

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Community-police relations, Neighborhood improvement
  • Engagement Approaches Commissions/taskforces, Community meetings (townhalls, forums, etc), Neighborhood events/ activities
Project Description

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Newkirk Park

In the early 2000s, crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the James L. Newkirk Park was escalating, and the park became the hub of criminal activity. Citizens didn’t feel safe leaving their homes or using the neighborhood park. At the same time, the relationship between residents and law enforcement was strained.


  • Reclaim Newkirk Park
  • Improve community-police relations

Project Summary:
Frustrated with the state of Newkirk Park, local resident Nettie Pernell and neighbors formed the Newkirk Park Advisory Committee (NPAC) and went to work taking back their neighborhood.

Forming a partnership with the city, local businesses, and the police, the park committee set a goal to raise money, get a walking trail established, purchase new park equipment and rid the area of high crime rates. In January 2012, the Newkirk Park Walking Trail was completed, and the police department began to implement more of a community policing philosophy.

Next, the park committee worked with partners to bring various celebrations and events to the park. Eventually, Newkirk Park was rededicated in May of 2016, and revitalization of the park has assisted in driving out drug and criminal activity.

The Clinton Police Department recognizes that hosting community events is not enough and has established several community partnerships to improve relations with residents. These partnerships and events have improved the quality of life of all residents and have improved the relationships between the police and the community.

Engagement Strategies:

  • The project was resident led
  • An advisory committee, made up of local residents, worked together to take back a nearby park.
  • The project involved a wide-range of stakeholders, including the city, businesses, the police and residents.


  • The park was rededicated and hosts an array of activities.
  • Crime rates in the neighborhoods surrounding Newkirk Park have dropped 56%.

Additional Resources:
Clinton, NC- 2019 AAC Finalist: Presentation

Local Contact:
Donald Edwards
Chief of Police
(910) 592-3105
[email protected]

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