For the first time, the Clinton community and neighborhoods near Newkirk Park will join millions across the world in a battle against crime.
National Night Out is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, at James L. Newkirk Memorial Park. It promotes building relationships between police and local neighborhoods, with hopes of having safer environments. Millions participate in the event in thousands of communities across the United States, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases throughout the world.
The free event is being hosted by the Clinton Police Department (CPD) 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 about Clinton’s first National Night Out.
At Newkirk Park, National Night Out will give children and residents of all ages an opportunity to visit law enforcement, emergency personnel and other community organizations. They’ll 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 the CPD, some of the other participants include the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County EMS, North Carolina DMV and churches near the Newkirk Park community. Organizers are in the process of adding more groups.
Nettie Pernell, organizer and chair of the advisory committee, expressed how the event will add to the goal of stopping drugs and crimes in the area. She also believes it’s a way for people to become more equated.
“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.”
CPD Acting Chief Donald Edwards is assisting Pernell to bring the event to Clinton. The National Night Out program was introduced in 1984 by Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch. Before the first National Night Out event, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, he spent several years working with the Lower Merion Community Watch program. Some of Peskin’s work involved patrolling neighborhoods, assisting with patrol dispatch and introducing a program newsletter. More than 2.5 million participated in the inaugural celebration which grew each year with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events and exhibits.
Local organizers are looking forward to bringing the tradition to Clinton.
“The purpose is for law enforcement and the community to come together and give neighborhood crime and drugs a going away party,” Locklear said.