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National Night Out – The Softer Side of Law Enforcement

By Todd Travis

When it comes to law enforcement, one of the biggest associations people have with officers are traffic stops. That’s not exactly a great moment to make a new friend or talk about common interests. It’s usually a bummer of a situation that both parties would rather not be experiencing. But the reality is, behind each badge is a person who has a heart for community and has a story to tell, and an ear to listen.

That’s where the National Night Out Against Crime comes into play. On August 1, the Avon Police Department will be hosting an event to allow community members and law enforcement officers to spend time together in a non-threatening environment. During this time, both the officers and the community members will have the opportunity to get to know each other and connect in a way that is not normally available in everyday interactions. 

“The best way to describe it is as a community networking event. The goal is to get our officers in front of our community and have some sort of engagement where they can see the human side of our staff. It also gives our officers the opportunity to engage with people in a more friendly environment. We’re just trying to knock down some of the barriers that exist between officers and civilians,” explained Deputy Chief Nugent of the Avon Police Department.

This event was first held in 2015 and has continued to grow and improve every year since. Participation is completely free thanks to several sponsors including Wal-Mart, Meijer, Traders Point Church, Porter Towing and Whitlows Towing. The provisions include food, drinks, snacks, prizes, and even attractions such as a rock wall, gyroscope ride, dunk booth, and more. 

“It’s a really enjoyable experience to watch families come to a location here in Avon, get to interact with our officers, let one of our officers make them a snow cone. It’s remarkable to see parents come in with children and ask how much it costs to do the attractions. When our staff tell them it’s free, they’re almost brought to tears,” described Nugent.

Another important part of the event is the presentation of the resources that are available to the community. With 75 vendors, attendees are able to see the different organizations that are ready to support them through their unique service offerings. A couple examples are Willow Center, who will be facilitating information about addiction recovery services, and Sheltering Wings for domestic battery sheltering resources. 

“We just found that the most effective way to gather everyone together is through free food and fun,” mentioned Nugent.

During the event, the officers will be sounding a freedom bell in honor of fallen military members. This year they are wanting to specifically honor the three fallen officers that were killed in the line of duty just recently- Trooper Smith, Sergeant Glenn, and Deputy Durm. The Indiana State Police will be participating in the event and in honoring the fallen members as well.

“As a detective for 10 years and as an administrator for the last 9 years, I can tell you first and foremost that our successes as a law enforcement agency are 100% reflective of the relationships that we have with our community. We need people to call us and tell us that things are happening. We depend on the public to keep us accountable, and we do that with the public as well,” stated Nugent.

To find more info about the event, visit the Avon Indiana Police Department’s Facebook page. Other activities include: K-9 Demonstrations, Police Vehicle displays, and prize drawings. You can also visit: avonindiana.gov/nationalnightout

Event Info: 

National Night Out Against Crime

August 1, 2023 5pm-9pm

Avon High School

7575 E County Road 150 S

Avon, IN 46123

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