By Kara Lopp
Police and the public will come together Tuesday, Aug. 6, to mark the 30th annual National Night Out.
The event is aimed at crime and drug prevention through police-community partnerships.
The Mint Hill Police Department will host its annual celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Park on Fairview, 8850 Fairview Road, with free food including Chick-fil-A sandwiches, hot dogs, snow cones and more. The event is free and open to the public.
In Matthews, the subdivisions of the Village at St. Andrews, Polo Club, Windrow, Elizabeth Place and Country Place are planning events featuring demonstrations by officers.
This year’s Mint Hill sponsors include Big Guy’s Pizza, Chick-fil-A and Sam’s Club. The event will include police demonstrations, crime prevention information, safety tips, children’s games, a dunking booth with officers and more. A representative from the District Attorney’s Office and patrol officers will be on hand to talk with residents about any safety concerns.
“The Mint Hill Police Department supports National Night Out because it gives the community and the officers a chance to meet in a relaxing atmosphere where everyone is comfortable to interact on a social basis,” Lt. John Rowell said. “A lot of encounters are in a formal setting which can be intimidating to some individuals, who have not had a lot of interaction with police officers. In a social setting, people may feel more free to express ideas or concerns that they would not necessarily feel comfortable doing in a formal- style setting. It also allows individuals to meet their neighbors and talk to them.”
The casual atmosphere of National Night Out is fun for officers, too, Rowell said.
“It takes away the formality of most encounters and allows them to meet individuals they may not otherwise meet …” he said, adding these contacts can become important during investigations. National Night Out “gives officers a chance to ‘play’ with the kids in the community and to let the children see that police officers are friendly and not someone to be scared of.”
The Mint Hill subdivision of St. Ives is hosting their own National Night Out event, and Mint Hill officers also will attend, Rowell said.
For more information about Matthews events, call Cpl. Lori Valdes at 704-845-1651.
For more information about the Mint Hill event, call Lt. John Rowell at 704-545-1085.