Chief Kevin Spencer of the Scottsbluff (NE) Police Department announced earlier this week that the agency's annual "National Night Out" event aimed at community relations and engagement with residents will be cancelled this year.

According to the Star-Herald, Chief Spencer said that canceling the event this year was not an easy decision, saying that the event "is a great time for the community to get together with first responders, have good conversations and foster good relations."

Chief Spencer cited concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons for the cancellation of the event.

Spencer said that officers have been wearing masks and keeping social distancing while on regular patrol, but that holding a large-scale public event may introduce risks to anyone in attendance.

He said, however, that future "Coffee with a Cop" events may resume as restrictions are lifted on such gatherings.