July 17, 2015: National Night Out lets police & citizens relax together, by Chief Bruce Johnson

July 9, 2015 by

Police Chief  Bruce Johnson

Police Chief
Bruce Johnson

Police officers know that when we meet citizens, it is often a tense or tough situation for the people involved. That’s one of the reasons we see National Night Out as such a positive event — I and my officers get to meet people when we’re all relaxed and just enjoying an evening out with our neighbors.

And that’s what National Night Out — the first Tuesday in August, so Aug. 4 this year — is really all about. It’s a national movement for neighbors to meet neighbors and to meet law enforcement while enhancing the idea that we all look out for each other.

This will be the fifth year that Concordia has been a part of National Night Out, which the Police Department co-sponsors with the Concordia Year of Peace.

That co-sponsorship means two things:

  • When you sign up to host a neighborhood gathering, the Year of Peace Committee will provide you with a nifty yard sign and balloons to show people where you’re gathering.  (To “register” your gathering — and receive the sign and balloons — contact Holly Brown at 243-2113, ext., 1221, or hbrown@csjkansas.org.)
  • Then I and my officers will work to stop by every gathering that’s signed up, to hand out glow-sticks to the kids and answer whatever questions you have about neighborhood safety.

We had a great turnout last year and I expect the same this year. There were large parties at the City Park and Hood Park as well as smaller parties at a number of homes around the city. These get-togethers have ranged from very informal front-yard gatherings with lemonade and cookies to full cookouts, with everything in between.

Some neighborhoods have even gotten permission to close off a side street for a “Block Party.” (To ask about blocking off a city street, call Ron Copple at City Hall, 243-2670.)

Nationwide, this is the 32nd year for National Night Out and there are thousands of communities that will take part in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.

The idea is for neighbors to get to know each other and strengthen neighborhood spirit. By doing that, National Night Out can heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; strengthen police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

The number of people taking part in Concordia each year shows the community supports this event, and the positive impact it can have.

So invite your neighbors over for a front-yard party! Then “register” your gathering so we can stop by and get to know you — and let you get to know us.

 

— Bruce Johnson is chief of the Concordia Police Department.

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