By VAN HOLLAND
The Tarboro Police Department wants everyone to get to know their neighbors so they can work together to help fight crime in the community, and what better way to do that than at the department's second annual National Night Out observance? Nationally, it will be the 30th anniversary of the event.
The event will be held on the Town Common, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday and everyone in the community is invited to come out and participate. There will be numerous activities for citizens of all ages to enjoy.
There will also be free hot dogs and drinks for everyone. Games will be on-site for the kids to play and there will be music and displays available. There will also be a blood pressure check station set up at the event. There will be brochures on hand about bullying and what the effects of it cause and information about anti-drugs.
Additionally, there will be a K-9 demonstration given by the department and a driving simulator for citizens to get behind the wheel and see what can happen when they text and drive.
"We will have activities and things for citizens of all ages," Police Chief Damon Williams said. "It's going to be just a fun event."
The event is dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs, including neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies, civic groups and individuals devoted to safer communities.
"We want the neighbors in each part of the town to get to know one another," Williams said. "We want town people to meet town people. That is what National Night Out is all about. We want our neighborhoods to be a safe place for our citizens to live and enjoy themselves."
Last year was the first time the TPD held the event. The weather, however, failed to cooperte and forced the event inside the Ray Center.
"The first year was a good turnout even though the weather got us," WIlliams said. "We had the fire department there and we had officers inside the gym playing basketball with the kids."
Williams feels like it is a great time for the community to come together in one common area and get the awareness out and explain what it stands for.
"We can get a lot of citizens involved in this event and we can build it into bigger event and hold it in various locations," Williams said. "We need to get it to grow and we can have block captains in charge of neighborhood watch groups."
In the long run, Williams wants to try and get the event set up where each neighborhood in the town has their own special National Night Out celebration.
"We want to get this event spread out throughout the town," Williams said. "Each separate neighborhood can have their own celebration each year during this time."
The introduction to "National Night Out" began in 1984 in an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities and police-community partnerships. It was set up to send a message to criminals to let them know that neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back against the crime.
The seed was planted and "National Night Out" now involves over 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states.
Williams said if the weather is unstable and it's raining Tuesday, plans are to once again move it to the Ray Center. Rain or shine, stat time will be 6 p.m.