Tuesday, August 4, 2009
National Night Out 2009
Police departments across the nation are
gearing up for this year's National Night Out festivities which are
scheduled for August 4th.
According to National Town Watch,
"Last year's National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement
agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local
officials from over 10,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories,
Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 34 million people
participated in National Night Out 2008."
The goals of National Night Out are as
- Heighten crime and drug prevention
- Generate support for, and participation
in, local anti-crime efforts
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and
- Send a message to criminals letting them
know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back
This event promotes an incredible amount of
good will and should be held by every police department in the nation.
Getting a National Night Out
program off the ground is not that difficult. Before beginning, get
yourself a looseleaf notebook. Here, you will record names, addresses,
and telephone numbers of everyone you deal with while planning the event.
This will keep you organized.
Location for National Night
First, find a location for the
event. The location you choose should be convenient to residents and
businesses, and, if possible, in a high traffic location. You want
to make sure that you will have access to electricity and bathrooms.
Contact some local businesses
for financial support as well as your own union local. Make sure to
have a specific account solely for National Night Out and be careful to
follow all fundraising regulations.
Set up Activities and Events
Lower on the page are some
examples of what various police departments offer in the way of
activities. For your first year, don't get in over your head.
Once you have chosen the
activities you should set up a diagram of the area where your event is
being held. Pencil in where each of the activities will be held.
This will help keep you organized.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Your work will have been
wasted if no one shows up.
Promote early, and promote
often. Local and regional newspapers, flyers given out at summer
youth programs, agency website, city newsletter, local radio stations, and
flyers around town are some ideas to help you get the word out.
Recruit Officers to Work
Okay, this one is important.
You don't need
Officer-I-retire-next-month-and-couldn't-give-a-crap-about-nuttin as a
representative of your police department.
Find personable officers who
are going to mingle and start conversations with kids and citizens.
The idea of this event is to have them walking away with a better opinion
about us, not a worse one.
Okay, this is a brief outline
with some suggestions. If after the first year it goes well, you can
expand it. For larger jurisdictions, you can hold several simultaneous
events within your town or city limits.
Below is a quick list. If
you know of other interesting activates being offered during National Night
Out which are not listed below,
please email us.
Other Police Vehicles
DJ or Band with PA system
Watermelon Eating, etc.
Food and Barbeque Area
Rock Climbing Wall
(Free eye, ear, whatever
screenings in areas not so affluent)
(Not Drunk Tank)
National Night Out is an
evening where law enforcement officers, business people, children, and
parents all get together for a very wholesome gathering of fun and
Just call your local police
department. If they do not sponsor such an event, they should be able
to tell you which police department does.
And, be sure to watch the
newspapers. Often, they run stories a week or two ahead of time on
which police departments will be sponsoring a National Night Out event.
National Night Out