City preps for National Night Out with three advance events
National Night Out, an annual event to foster support between neighborhoods and law enforcement agencies, is less than a month away, but this year, the city is getting a jumpstart on the festivities.
The city of Sanford is inviting the community to a free tour of the Sanford Police Department at 6:30 p.m. Friday to learn more about National Night Out, according to the city's NNO coordinator Kelly Quinones Miller. The event is one of three scheduled as a precursor to National Night Out on Aug. 6
"The spirit and intent is for (National Night Out) to form a community and police partnership," she said. "… It's always been about having a night where people can get out and meet their neighbors and so you can rely on each other. However, the intent was not to just meet for one night and not see each again until next year."
Holding "pre-events" before the National Night Out will spur more interest in the program and strengthen relationships between community members and law enforcement agencies, Miller said.
"We have more opportunities for families to meet those police officers patrolling their neighborhoods, meeting those city council members who said they would be there," she said. "Our goal is to extend the spirit of National Night Out through the summer."
Two other events will be held in the weeks before Aug. 6, including a self-defense class for children and adults from 9-11 a.m. Aug. 3 at First Baptist Church and safety demonstrations from 9-11 a.m. July 20 at Spring Lane Cinemas.
Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items during National Night Out and to the pre-events to be donated to Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County, Miller said.
Sanford Police Sgt. Tony Hancox, of the community policing division, said he hopes people attend the tour Friday to learn more about National Night Out and the entire department.
"I hope they have a different view of the police officers," he said. "As community police officers, what we stress on our unit is to involve ourselves in the community and let them know we are their friends and here to help you."
Kids are often exposed to police officers during a bad situation, he said, and National Night Out provides law enforcement another chance to meet community members under positive circumstances.
WANT TO GO?
* What: Community Tour of the Sanford Police Department
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Sanford Police Department, 224 E. Weatherspoon St.
Details: Community members are invited to tour the Sanford Police Department and receive information about National Night Out. Non-perishable food items will be collected for Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County.
* What: Family Safety Day at Spring Lane Cinemas
When: 9-11 a.m. July 20
Where: Spring Lane Cinemas, 1351 Douglas Drive
Details: Face painting, free ID kits, safety lessons for biking, riding, playing and walking, and non-perishable food items will be collected for Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County.
* What: Personal Safety for Families at First Baptist Church's Family Life Center
When: 9-11 a.m. Aug. 3
Where: First Baptist Church, 202 Summitt Drive
Details: Children and adults can learn basic self-defense techniques. Gun locks and information on home safety will be available free of charge. Non-perishable food items will be collected for Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County.