Area police ready for National Night Out

Police agencies in several area communities are preparing to welcome residents to their annual National Night Out events tonight.

Activities in New Market, Strasburg, Front Royal and Winchester are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The events will be held at the Strasburg carnival lot; the New Market Town Hall; the Loudoun Street Mall in front of the Old Courthouse Museum in Winchester; and the downtown Front Royal Gazebo.

Robbie Seal, the Front Royal Police Department’s community relations officer, said town police will be joined by other law enforcement agencies at this year’s event. Representatives from the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Shenandoah National Park and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be available to meet members of the public and talk about crime prevention and detection.

Seal said the DEA will be bringing what he described as a mock informational methamphetamine laboratory to illustrate the dangers of the drug and the kind of enforcement activities conducted by the agency.

National Night Out is held every year in 16,000 communities across the United States and in U.S. territories to encourage closer ties between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

“It lets people see the human side of law enforcement,” Seal said.

New Market’s attractions this year include a K-9 demonstration and free child identification kits. Winchester is offering free food and drinks, and Strasburg’s program includes musical entertainment by Robbie Limon and a bicycle rodeo.

Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly referred to strained police-community relations in many parts of the nation as one reason why National Night Out is more important than ever.

“It’s just to show community and police solidarity,” Sutherly said. “With everything that’s going on nationally, especially now, it’s important for citizens to know local police are responsive to their needs.

“No, we’re not perfect, but we have the perfect cause in taking care of the community and keeping it safe.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com