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Meet the DC police officers who bring funk and go-go music to city streets each summer

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Jeffrey Stewart, who the group calls legs is a Drummer for the band. (Caroline Patrickis/7News)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – Summer is kicking off in Washington, D.C. at the annual Beat the Streets event.

Throughout the summer across the District, Metropolitan D.C. police officers are cranking up the heat and the music.

Beat the Streets is a community outreach event that travels around D.C., and is a partnership between the Metropolitan Police Department, local social service agencies and community vendors in a 3- to 5-hour block of time.

It's not something you see every day, D.C. police officers – with badges and guns – bringing funk to the streets. But for MPD's police band Side-by-Side, that is exactly what you will experience.

“Side by Side invented a long time ago, bridging the gap between police and the community,” James Thomas, D.C. police officer.

ALSO READ: He used to play violin for the terminally ill. As a cop, he's still using music to comfort

According to MPD, the Side By Side Band was first formed 1972, in Washington, DC and was originally comprised of members from the Metropolitan Police Department, DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the United States Park Police.

For one of the current members, Lamumba Howard, being in the band is full circle.

“When I was in elementary school, they used to come to my school all of the time," Officer Howard said.

Officer Howard says this band is what sparked his interest in music in the first place when he was only in the second grade.

“Actually a lot of the male role models when I was younger were police officers” Officer Howard explained.

D.C Police Commander, John Branch, says that is the goal of Beat the Streets. “It’s a good way to see them in a different light, we are human too. We want to give back to the community and have a safe environment so that we can give back to."

For the full schedule of Beat the Streets, click here.


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