Waco, TX (FOX 44) — Numerous police chiefs showed up at the Waco-McLennan County Central Library tonight for the NAACP’s ‘Meet the Chief’ event.

The NAACP wanted to host this event for community members to connect with their local police chief to establish trust and prevent problems from happening.

One of the main questions the community had was on the high number of mass shootings across the nation.

With another shooting happening again today, January 23, where seven people were killed at a mushroom farm and a trucking business in Half-Moon bay, California, there are now 37 recorded shootings since January 1.

Waco McLennan County NAACP Legal Redress Committee Chair Lovie Langston says this is a crisis that needs to be handled on the local level.

“By getting these chiefs out into the community, we can get that community to say, ‘Hey, I feel comfortable enough to go to this individual and let him know that Tom, Dick, or Harry across the street is going to be a problem or is a problem,'” said Langston.

Langston says this meeting further breaks down the stigma the black community has with law enformcent.

He also encourages more minorities to join the police force to encourage diversity and a better connection to the communities they serve.

Waco ISD police chief David Williams III says one way shootings can be prevented is by parents playing an active role in a child’s life.

“It’s okay for us to be friendly with our children, but we cannot be friends with our children. We have to be parents, and I’m saying ‘we’ because I’m included,” said Williams. “It takes all of us to change this behavior. You know, the issues that we have in this is a huge issue.”

In addition to this Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin says there was a significant increase in 2022 in the number of stolen guns in car burglaries in 2022.

He worries these guns can be in the hands of children or someone with the ability to be a danger.