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National Night Out

It began with one volunteer who was committed to helping connect law enforcement officers to citizens in his own community.

Matt Peskin began volunteering with his local police department in Lower Merion, PA. He assisted on-duty officers, participated in the local neighborhood watch program and created a newsletter to share important information with fellow residents. As his volunteer work increased, Peskin saw a need to partner with other law enforcement agencies and surrounding communities. It was this partnership that inspired him to form the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a platform for community watch groups to connect with each other as well as their local law enforcement agencies.

NATW held the first National Night Out (NNO) in 1984. The plan was for neighborhoods to host a block party and invite their local police departments to attend.  Attending officers would answer residents’ questions and assist with the neighborhood watch programs. The overall goal was to bring the community and law enforcement together in an effort to prevent crime. NATW focused their efforts on drug prevention, neighborhood watch and town watch. The initial event was successful and reached 2.5 million residents across 400 communities within 23 states.

Thirty-four years later, what began as a block party has grown into a national event sponsored by corporate donors and local businesses alike. While the size and funding may have changed, the purpose has not.

The campaign continues to focus on partnering law enforcement agencies to the communities they serve with special attention to drug prevention, child safety and neighborhood watch. The event takes place across the United States and parts of Canada on the first Tuesday of August.

To date, NNO has reached 16,142 communities and 38.5 million people

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, several Hendricks County Law Enforcement agencies will be hosting NNO events for residents to come and enjoy. Each department has worked to ensure that the resources to educate and assist residents are available while also providing a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  By partnering with major corporate sponsors Target, Wal-Mart, Lowes, ADT, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, Hendricks Regional Health along with several generous local donors, these events are free to attend.

 

Avon

The Avon Police Department will host NNO from 4-8 p.m. in Lowes parking lot, 7893 E US Hwy 36, Avon. There will be over 60 vendors and attractions on site. Assistant Chief Brian Nugent organized the event and said, ” National Night Out is a great event that allows us to bring together all our resources to help families in our community who are facing a multitude of issues. This event is an investment back into our community and a great reminder that we are here to help protect and serve.” Nugent said last year’s event drew nearly 3000 residents and this year he believes more will attend.  The event is entirely free and will include concession style food and beverages. There will be demonstrations by the canine unit and the BearCat SWAT Operations team.  Champion Chevrolet is sponsoring a bungee jump for kids and several vendors will be onsite to help teach parent-child safety.  Guests should enter through the registration tent where they will receive a goodie bag and be entered to win one of several prize packages.  Should the weather be an issue the event will be moved indoors to Avon North Middle School.

Nugent said last year’s event drew nearly 3000 residents and this year he believes more will attend.  The event is entirely free and will include concession style food and beverages. There will be demonstrations by the canine unit and the BearCat SWAT Operations team. Champion Chevrolet is sponsoring a bungee jump for kids and several vendors will be onsite to help teach parent-child safety.  Guests should enter through the registration tent where they will receive a goodie bag and be entered to win one of several prize packages. Should the weather be an issue, the event will be moved indoors to Avon North Middle School.

 

Brownsburg

The Brownsburg Police Department is hosting the 2017 NNO 6-9 p.m. on the lawn of Town Hall, 61 N Green Street. The event is focused on helping residents recognize crime and raising awareness for drug prevention.

Free food, live entertainment and useful information will be provided. This year residents will have access to free document shredding courtesy of All Shred Document Solutions. The Pacers Fan Van will be set up and the Night Out Against Crime Mascot “Knight” will be in attendance. The Brownsburg Police Department will have multiple displays and resources available for residents.

 

Danville

The Danville Metropolitan Police Department NNO is 5-8:30 p.m. on Danville Town Square. This is the fourth year that Danville MPD has hosted the event. Officer Nate Lien said, “this year is going to be really great. We have partnered with several local businesses and organizations to create something special. Each year the event has grown, last year we hosted around 1500 people, and every year it gets better and better.”

This year Kurt Streblow will be the DJ. Streblow is a familiar voice and fan favorite as he is the Indiana Pacers & Fever Game MC. A1-Fun is bringing  a stunt jump, zip line and an army obstacle course that is a half block long. The food and beverages are free as is the raffle. Guests will want to register upon arrival to obtain a raffle ticket.

This year’s raffle prizes include game tickets to see the Indianapolis Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Other prizes include free landscaping, dinner, movies and more.

The Danville Fire Department will teach fire safety and display its newest fire truck. The Hendricks County Sheriff Office will give K9 demonstrations.  The Children’s Bureau will also host a booth, and new this year is a take home child identification kit. The kit includes a photo ID, finger print and DNA sample. Parents are encouraged to take a kit for each child and complete as a family activity. In the event of inclement weather, NNO will be rescheduled for October.

 

Plainfield

The Plainfield Police Department celebrates NNO over two days. On August 1, officers will visit several neighborhoods throughout the evening.

“In the spirit of NNO, we wanted to go into the neighborhoods we serve,” Captain Jill Lees said. “This gives us an opportunity to listen to the specific concerns from residents and help them.”

Officers discuss topics such as ID theft, fraud, safety in public, how to go about setting up a neighborhood watch, stop sign placement and speeding. They also answer questions residents may have regarding law enforcement. The second event is Saturday Aug. 5, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Hummel Park in the Charleston Pavilion.

“It is fantastic to go into the neighborhoods,” Sergeant Todd Knowles said. “This year we will visit eight neighborhoods to help build their crime watch.

“But NNO often occurs around the start of school,” Knowles added. “What we found was children were missing from these gatherings beacuas they were in bed or getting ready for school the next day. It is important that kids build trusting relationships with law enforcement and so by having a second event on Saturday, we are accessible to people we might miss during our Tuesday visit. It is a lot of work but it is worth it!”

This year’s Saturday NNO event includes a bike course complete with bikes and helmets on loan from Riley Hospital, bounce house and face painting. Back packs have been donated by Wal-Mart. Food will be available for purchase from several vendors. Also onsite will be the SWAT Truck, Emergency Response Team and the newest member of the force, a K9 bomb sniffing chocolate lab.

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