The City of Clinton and the Newkirk Park Advisory Committee are building off the success of last year’s inaugural “National Night Out” locally, and are holding the second annual police and community partnership event this August.
Deemed a “going away party” for crime and drugs, Clinton’s first-ever National Night Out happened in August 2017. Clinton’s second edition has been set for Aug. 7 at James L. Newkirk Memorial Park, also marking the 35th anniversary of the national event.
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. Events annually host 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.
“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,” Brittany Locklear, CPD senior administrative specialist, has 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.
The “Night Out” gives 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.
Last year, in addition to food, there was a bouncy house, K9 demonstrations, photo opportunities and many more activities. In addition to police, other agencies represented at the event included 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, and Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards worked closely together to bring the event to Clinton last year. Pernell believes the annual “Night Out” is a way for people to become more acquainted and fellowship under a common goal of stopping drugs and crime in the area.
“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.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.