August 6, 2017
Police Gear Up For National Night Out As Community Relations Strain Under Racial Tension

Police are gearing up nationwide for the annual event National Night Out. National Night Out is a time where police team up with volunteers and seek to bridge differences and strengthen community relations. The official National Night Out site has been promoting the event that is scheduled for August 2, through their various social media pages. National Night Out is hosted by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and is held in over 16,000 communities, impacting more than 38 million neighbors nationwide. This year's event comes when there is great disharmony and racial tension between police and communities due to violence by and against police. It is unclear whether the recent wave of violence will cause fewer people to attend National Night Out, or if more will participate in attempt to improve relations between police and communities.

The official National Night Out Facebook page sent their condolences to the victims and families of the five slain Dallas Police officers killed while protecting people during protests of police violence. You can see a photo of Dallas Police Chief Chris Brown as he attended National Night Out events last year.

There is little doubt that this year's National Night Out event will hold greater meaning to those in Dallas and other communities rocked by gun violence as the strain of racial tensions threatens to permanently damage community and police relations.

KCTV published a release about National Night Out that expresses great anticipation for the Aug. 2 event.

"Our feeling is that communities will turn out like never before on August 2nd," said Matt Peskin, creator of the event. "Communities are anxious to showcase their positive relationships with local law enforcement."

Check out the video below where the Edinburg Texas Police Department created a PSA for one of their past National Night Out events. When watching the PSA, you can see how people from all genders and different ethnicity groups are part of the law enforcement team. It's a good reminder that National Night Out helps tear down racial barriers and is an important way to build strong communities with positive relationships with their law enforcement officials.

The press statement described the main purpose of National Night Out and discussed several points of the event's main focus. According to the release, the following four points are the main objectives of National Night Out.
  • Heighten crime prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships;
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
National Night Out events include block parties, cookouts, festivals, parades, and more. Those who want to register an event can do so at the official NATW site, but time is running out and registration must occur soon. As each city or town holds its own National Night Out event, no two events are alike. The Chicago Tribune stated that the city of Naperville will hold three events on different dates. Check with your local law enforcement officials to determine where and when an event will be held in your community.What do you think about National Night Out? Do you think it's an effective way to bridge the divide between law enforcement and communities? Could National Night Out begin the healing process so many need right now?

[Image via Dan Holm /]