Local law enforcement will join the Newkirk Park Advisory Committee and millions others across the world in a national community-building campaign that promotes relationships between police departments and communities.
National Night Out is an annual event held to bring together law enforcement and the community they serve in order to make neighborhoods safer and build a trust among the citizens and residents it covers.
The Clinton Police Department and local advisory committee will host “Night Out” for the second year Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 6-8 p.m. at James L. Newkirk Memorial Park. Last year was 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.
According to Nettie Pernell, member of the Newkirk Park Advisory Committee, members of the Clinton Police Department will join with members from other local law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s department, K9 unit, Clinton Fire Department and wildlife personnel, to meet and talk with residents about the role an officer plays in the community.
“We want our communities and neighborhoods to come together and get to know each other,” Pernell said. “It’s important for our children and their families to know who the local law enforcement officers are and not be afraid just because they see them in uniform.”
Deemed a “going away party” for crime and drugs, Pernell said the event is a fun and educational way to show neighborhood unity against crime, drugs and violence.
“Everyone’s goal is to rid our community of drugs and crime,” Pernell added.
Clinton police chief Donald Edwards echoed Pernell’s thoughts.
“This event gives us another opportunity to build positive relationships with our community in fellowship and fun,” Edwards noted. “When we are able to have trust and camaraderie with our neighborhoods and other community partners our city is a safer place to live. National Night Out was a huge success last year and we are expecting a bigger crowd this year. We look forward to everyone coming out and joining us.”
During this year’s “Night Out” event, children and other local residents will have an opportunity to visit with the local law enforcement, emergency personnel, representatives from the local health department, Sampson Regional Medical Center and Eastpointe to learn about services and see vehicles and equipment up close. The fire department has plans to have the Smokehouse available, as well as the boat from the North Carolina Wildlife Services.
In addition to food, there will be a bouncy house, K9 demonstrations, photo opportunities and many other activities that are free and open to the public. The Gamma Eta Eta chapter of the Chi Eta Phi Sorority of Clinton will be performing free glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol checks.
Pernell said more than 500 people attended last year’s event, and the committee is expecting more this year.
“As a national event, last year’s ‘Night Out’ was a huge success, and we are hoping this year’s event will be even more successful,” Pernell shared.
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.