Deemed a “going away party” for crime and drugs, and touted for months now, Clinton’s first ever National Night Out is set for this Tuesday.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes relationships between police departments and the community they protect in order to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
“Night Out” is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. this Tuesday, Aug. 1, at James L. Newkirk Memorial Park. This is Clinton’s first time participating in the event, which annually hosts millions of people in thousands of communities across the United States, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases throughout the world.
“This is a night for Clinton to stand together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity,” organizers said.
The free event is being hosted by the Clinton Police Department and the Newkirk Park Advisory Committee. Brittany Locklear, CPD senior administrative specialist, is looking forward to the upcoming event and encourages all residents to come out.
“This is an important event for all residents because it’s a fun and educational way to show neighborhood unity against crime, drugs and violence,” Locklear said.
The National Night Out program was introduced in 1984 by Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch. More than 2.5 million participated in the inaugural celebration, which has grown each year with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events and exhibits.
At Newkirk Park on Tuesday, the “Night Out” will give children and residents of all ages an opportunity to visit law enforcement, emergency personnel and other community organizations. They will also be able to learn about services and see vehicles and equipment up close.
In addition to food, there will also be a bouncy house, wet down by the Clinton Fire Department, K9 demonstrations, photo opportunities and many more activities. In addition to police, other agencies expected to be represented at the event include the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County EMS, North Carolina DMV, churches near the Newkirk Park community and others.
Nettie Pernell, organizer and chair of the advisory committee, expressed how the event will add to the goal of stopping drugs and crime in the area. Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards has worked closely with Pernell to bring the event to Clinton.
City officials, including Council members, are also expected to be in attendance at the event leading up to their 7 p.m. monthly meeting the same night. Pernell believes the event is a way for people to become more acquainted and fellowship under a common goal.
“It’ll allow the neighbors and the community to come together and know each other, so they can watch out for each other,” Pernell said. “They can also report on anything they see going on in their neighborhood.”