National Night Out aims to build relationship between police and local communities

Tuesday, Aug. 3 is National Night Out

Get to know the police officers or sheriff deputies patrolling your neighborhood during National Night Out on Tuesday.

National Night Out is a national campaign that focuses on building a positive partnership between law enforcement and the people they serve. The way officers go about it depends on the agency.

In Bedford from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can find police on Washington Street in the Overstreet Cities Services parking lot serving hot dogs, popcorn and barbecue.

Appomattox County Sheriff’s Office is having free hot dogs and drinks from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Appomattox Town Park.

Martinsville Police Department will be at Uptown Martinsville Farmers Market 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. join Covington Police Department at Main Street City Park for food, music, free ID kits, a dunk tank and police equipment on display.

You can meet Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and other local first responders at the big shelter at Randolph Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Before the Salem Red Sox game, at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. you can meet Salem Police along with other first responders for National Night Out and Frontline Worker Appreciation night.

Vinton Police are having free hot dogs, snow cones and kids activities starting at 6 p.m. at the War Memorial. Police Chief Fabricio Drummond said in 2020 they still had an event, but with all the social distancing it just wasn’t the same. Whichever event you decide to go to he said it’s value in face-to-face interaction.

“We’re finally back to that standard where we can just have that relationship and continue building on it. Where you as the officer and you as the resident can have that communication piece and discuss things that are really important to you and share it with us and maybe we can work together as a collective group to fix it,” said Drummond.

In Franklin County, the sheriff’s office turns the evening into a family fun event. The event is returning after a year off during the pandemic.

Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Westlake Cinema parking lot will be filled with bounce houses, face painters, martial arts demonstrations, fire trucks and deputy vehicles, they’ll also have free hot dogs.

In past years with good weather, deputies would expect more than 500 people.

For the deputies that plan this event like outreach coordinator Deputy H.L. Nolen, National Night Out is a time to give back to the community that gives so much to them and offer people insight into what law enforcement does.

”I think that a lot of residents leave there with an open-eyes feeling of now I know more about what the office of the sheriff has to offer,” said Deputy Nolen.

He also mentioned their National Night Out event plants a seed of interest in the next generation of law enforcement.

There will be a booth there with applications and information for those who want to learn more about the career.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.