National Night Out is a crime prevention and police interaction night recognized by police departments and communities across the country. This year’s date is Aug. 7 and three Hendricks County towns are among those participating.
Brownsburg’s festivities are from 5 to 9 p.m. on the lawn at the town hall. This is the 29th consecutive year that Brownsburg has taken part in the event.
The event typically draws a huge crowd over the course of the night, and will feature free food, live musical entertainment, and a chance to learn about crime prevention efforts in what the BPD calls giving “crime and drugs their annual going away party.”
BPD Police Chief Michael Dove said his department looks forward to the opportunity for officers to interact with members of the community in a positive way.
“I think it helps create a trust with the police department in the community and it sends a message that the criminal element here is not wanted,” he said. “We believe we have the biggest one in the state. We want to show criminals that we’re not going away, but another big thing is that we want to have a good, safe environment for kids. We want to let the community know that our people are more than just police officers.”
Music will be provided by Big Daddy Caddy and John Force Racing will have a funny car at the event as well. There will also be a bounce house for children, balloon animals, a magician, and plenty of opportunities to beat the heat.
“We’ll have a huge tent for shade, and we’ll have a misting tent,” Dove said. “We’re also asking everyone to bring canned goods and we’re donating them to the local food banks.”
Those attending may bring sensitive documents to be shredded to prevent identity theft and the Hendricks County Substance Abuse Task Force will be taking expired prescriptions and over the counter medications to ensure proper disposal.
“It came from the east coast,” Dove said of the idea for National Night Out. “It’s the first Tuesday in August we do this, a unified effort throughout the company. I decided when I took it over a few years ago, I wanted to make it big, make it a town event, make it one of the biggest events in town. Fire department personnel will be there as well. The community gets to see a display of all of our stuff and I think it’s important that they’re more familiar with where there tax dollars go and why.”
Dove said his officers look forward to the annual event.
“They enjoy the interaction with the public,” he said. “They build relationships by doing this type of thing. People can find out about all the anti-drug stuff we do, the different types of investigative tools that we have, and showcase what we do. It builds trust, that interaction with the officers. It’s a two way street.”
At Plainfield, the National Night Out event takes a different format.
Several neighborhoods will participate with residents turning on their porch lights from 5 to 9 p.m. and mingling with neighbors and police officers to strengthen their neighborhood crime watch program.
Plainfield Police Lt. Jill Lees and other officers will meet with residents in each participating neighborhood to show support for the crime watch and to answer questions or concerns from residents.
Target is a national sponsor of National Night Out and the Plainfield Target store will be participating in activities there as well.
“National Night Out is a great way for neighbors to meet each year and renew support for their local crime watch,” Lees said in a press release. “I personally enjoy talking to Plainfield residents and my best advice for them is to communicate with each other and the police department. Communication is the key factor in a successful crime watch.”
Pittsboro will participate in National Nigh Out with activities running from 6 to 8 p.m. at the fire department there.
There will be free food, door prizes, interaction with police and fire personnel, bicycle inspections, and an opportunity to explore the town’s fire trucks.
Pittsboro will have a drop off site for expired prescriptions and over the counter medications.
All in the communities are welcome to attend their town’s National Night Out programs.
Just the facts
WHAT: National Night Out
WHEN: Aug. 7
WHERE: Brownsburg, Plainfield, and Pittsboro