Police preparing for annual ‘Night Out’

Event gives residents chance to meet their local law enforcement

By Preston Knight — pknight@nvdaily.com

The annual opportunity to come into contact with police officers and not feel an ounce of regret for it is a day away.

The National Association of Town Watch’s National Night Out, in its 28th year, is scheduled for Tuesday. The crime and drug prevention event affords the public in jurisdictions throughout the nation a chance to meet members of local police departments.

According to the event’s website, more than 37 million people participated in 2010.

Several Northern Shenandoah Valley agencies will again be inviting the residents they protect to attend. In Strasburg, the Police Department is holding festivities in the town parking lot and will have representation from police, fire department and rescue squad members, Lt. Jerome Robinson said. Demonstractions, music, food, a moon bounce with “bungee basketball” and fatal vision goggles provided by the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, among other activities, will take place from 5 to 10 p.m.

“It’s a good chance to meet your local law enforcement,” Robinson said.

Shentel is providing child identification and DNA kits.

The Front Royal Police Department will greet residents around the gazebo on Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m. Demonstrations, child safety kits, a shredding truck, music, dunking booth, dogs up for adoption, information on jewelry safety and more than 35 vendors, all sharing some sort of public safety tip, are among the scheduled activities, said Janice Hart, the department’s community relations specialist.

“It’s a festival-type atmosphere,” she said. “We’re going to constantly have things going on.”

In that same time period, the New Market Police Department will have child identification kits, child safety seat checks, refreshments, a golf cart with the fatal vision goggles, a K-9 demonstration and numerous door prizes as part of its participation, according to a flier. The event is at the Arthur L. Hildreth Jr. Municipal Building.

The Berryville Police Department and Clarke County Sheriff’s Office will welcome people from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rose Hill Park in Berryville, Police Chief W. Neal White said. Equipment, food and a moon bounce will be present.

“[We want] for everybody to come out and chat and have a good time,” White said.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office will have child safety seat checks, its emergency response team vehicle, a K-9 unit, dive team and more from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Target location at Rutherford Crossing, 1st Lt. R.N. Singhas said.

Winchester’s observation on Tuesday takes place at five locations between 6 and 7:30 p.m. Groups plan to gather at Highland Memorial Presbyterian Church, 446 Highland Ave.; Montague Avenue United Methodist Church, 102 Montague Ave.; in the 1100 block of Woodland Avenue; the Willows at Meadowbranch, 1881 Harvest Drive ; and on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall by the Old Court House Civil War Museum. Gatherings in the city will feature cookouts with food and beverages, possibly games for children, and appearances by fire and rescue workers, according to Winchester police Sgt. Robert Gaither.

“It’s to give crime a going-away present in the neighborhoods,” Gaither said Friday.

For more information, visit www.nationalnightout.org or contact your local police department.

Staff writer Alex Bridges contributed to this story.