Across the country Tuesday, departments large, small, and in between, hosted a variety of activities while connecting with their communities during National Night Out.
National Night Out, traditionally held on the first Tuesday of August each year, began in 1984. The first annual National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. The annual event was founded by the National Association of Town Watch.
Although National Night Out focuses on local events, state agencies also often participate in support of their local partners. The Massachusetts State Police Marine Unit was on display at the Suffolk National Night Out and officers allowed children and adults alike to climb aboard and check out the boat. In New York, state police attended the National Night Out events in New Windsor. Members of the NYSP South SORT team, a trooper, and a mounted unit investigator participated. In Virginia, state police deployed a helicopter to be on display at a local National Night Out.
In South Dakota, officers from the Sioux Falls Police Department visited with families, played with children, and provided food during Tuesday’s event. The event gave residents quality time to spend with officers and like many similar gatherings across the country helped build the bonds between police and residents.
In some cities, National Night Out activities were held at multiple locations and officers made sure to be present at each of the festive events. Such was the case in Albany, NY, where the Albany Police Department hosted a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog, distributed bicycle safety information to children, and equestrian officers introduced kids to their horses.
In one of the more unique National Night Out happenings, Tree of Life Chainsaw Carvings donated wooden carvings of three police canines to the Warwick Police Department (RI). The department also was proud to display a new Can-Am UTV that had been donated to the agency by a local business partner.
In Goffstown, NH, officials provided a wide array of activities including dunking booths, inflatables, and a rock climbing wall. The Goffstown Police Department had officers on hand to interact with the community and even provided its Crime Scene Unit on display.
Police also in many cities were on hand with recruitment materials, booths, and tables as they search for new officers to serve the community. Such was the case with the North Charleston Police Department (SC) and others.