FLINT TWP. — The Flint Township Police Department will host its annual National Night Out as part of a nationwide effort to promote partnerships between first responders and the community and to encourage neighborhood camaraderie.
The event will be Aug. 6 from 4:30-8 p.m. at the police department, 5200 Norko Drive in Flint Township. Now in its 36th year, National Night Out reaches 16,000 communities and 38 million neighbors across the country.
“National Night Out is held all over the country the first Tuesday in August every year,” said Sgt. Mike Nemecheck. “It’s a campaign that raises community partnerships and gets the neighborhoods more involved with each other and the police. People come out and meet their neighbors, and it’s a good opportunity to bring police, firefighters and other first responders together with the community under positive circumstances.”
According to the National Night Out website, the events began in 1984 through a network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation. The first National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. Over the years, National Night Out has grown beyond front porch vigils and efforts to send messages of neighborhood camaraderie. Neighborhoods across the country began to host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visit from emergency personnel, exhibits and more.
Nemecheck said personnel on hand for the celebration include the Flint Township Police Department, Flint Township Fire Department and other fire departments, Genesee County 911 Central Dispatch, Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
“The fire department is going to do a Jaws of Life or extrication demonstration,” he said. “There will be a smoke house for kids and families to go through, fire trucks for the kids to climb on. Our SWAT team will have armored vehicles there, and people will be able to look at some of the heavier gear our officers have. The K-9 handlers will do a demonstration, and we’ll have driving simulators.”
There also will be kids’ games and activities such as a bounce house and other inflatables and a dunk tank where police officers end up all wet. Kids can register for prize giveaways, including several bicycles. A deejay will play music, and if the crowd works up an appetite from all the activity, there will be hot dogs, chips, ice cream, freeze pops and water.
“Everything is 100 percent free,” Nemecheck said. “A lot of it comes from community donations. They all come out of the woodwork to help with cash and goods.”
Nemecheck said the department spends most of the year planning National Night Out, and last year about 500 to 700 people came out to enjoy the event.
“The time seems to just fly by,” he said. “We want everybody to come and check it out. They won’t be disappointed. It’s truly a great time.”
For more information, people can call Nemecheck or Community Resource Officer John Chisa at 810-600-3250.