BOONE — Local law enforcement agencies are coming together to host the inaugural National Night Out event in Watauga County in the 36th year of the national event.
According to National Night Out organizers, agencies across the nation will join on Aug. 6 for the event that aims to bring communities and local authorities together in the fight against crime.
“It’s easy to think that with today’s technology, we don’t need to reach out and connect with our neighbors,” stated National Night Out organizers. “While home security systems afford us with additional protection, they can’t help us to get to know the individuals who live nearby and who might be able to support us not only in times of need but also share part of their lives with us.”
Members of the Appalachian State University Police, Boone Police Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police and Blowing Rock Police Department will be located at the Peacock Lot on Rivers Street from 5 to 8 p.m. for people to meet and ask questions.
Law enforcement vehicles will be on display and bounce houses, K9 demonstrations, games, a booking station (where people can learn about fingerprinting), food and music will be available. Attendees will also be able to judge the law enforcement vehicles and pick which ones have the best design or most interesting features. The event is free and open to the public.
Johnny Brown, captain of operations for App State Police, said that the event will give people the chance to meet officers, see some of the equipment agencies use, ask questions and eliminate negative public perceptions of law enforcement.
“Not every interaction with law enforcement can be perceived as a positive one,” Brown said. “(Officers) have a job they have to do. Sometimes (the public doesn’t) get to see us in an area where we’re not on a call. It’s important to get to know the officers, agencies, what the agencies stand for, the equipment they have or programming they can offer for you and your family.”
Brown said WCSO Sgt. Casey Miller reached out to see if the Watauga community would be interested in bringing the event to the local community, as agencies have previously been asked to participate in other area National Night Out events. Brown added that the event — along with a lot of law enforcement operations — is a team effort.
“We all have to work together. That’s how we make our community safe,” Brown said. “When you have these partnerships that are formed, that’s how work gets done. When we share information and we network with each other and we know that when something happens we can rely on each other, that’s how we make our citizens safer.”
Brown encouraged to bring out their families to the event and to ask questions. For more information on National Night Out, visit www.safety.com/national-night-out. More information on the National Night Out in Boone can be found by contacting Miller at email@example.com or (828) 264-3761.