KNOXVILLE (KDKA) – It was family dinner night at Kingdom Life Fellowship in Knoxville, Wednesday.

Each Wednesday, people in the community come together to talk and have a meal.

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This week, Pittsburgh Police joined in and officers helped to serve the food.

“When the police and the community work together, law enforcement is at its finest,” Pittsburgh Police Spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

The importance of a strong police-community relationship was highlighted just last week…when a 20-year-old suspect was killed during a dramatic shootout with police on Route 51.

“About 10 o’clock in the morning last Monday morning, 911 dispatched our officers to one of the worst calls that we’ve had to deal with in several years,” Toler said.

Neighbors stood with police that day, making calls to 911.

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Police say the information coming in was critical n bringing an end to a difficult and dangerous situation.

At Wednesday’s dinner, officers – many from Zone 3 – wanted to say thank you.

They even handed out awards to community members.

“The community offered us an opportunity to come out and sit and talk and we decided we wanted to do more than just sit and talk and so our officers volunteered to serve food,” Toler said.

People in the community said this event is a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s awesome, I would love to see it grow and expand, and touch lives, really,” Magdollyn Sims said.

“It’s best to know the cops and we get to know them then we can communicate better because some of the people, some of the younger ones are afraid of cops,” Tom Coppola said.

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