The event, which is free and open to all residents of Jasper, will be held today from 2 until 6 p.m.
National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and partnerships between the police and communities, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
The program is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored by the Jasper Police Department.
Nationwide, the event draws an estimated 37 million people from more than 10,000 different communities across North America.
“This is a time for America to stand together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity,” said Matt Peskin, the national project coordinator for the event. “National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation.”
“This is such a great opportunity for us, as police, to put ourselves out in the community and let the community come to know us by our names and by our faces,” Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said last month.
Today’s activities include inflatables, a dunking booth called ‘dunk-a-criminal’, a JPD Explorer booth and lots of good food. There will also be free swimming and a crime poster contest for kids 12 and under.
The Jasper Police Department’s McGruff the Crime Dog will be on hand, along with the Jasper Fire Department’s Fire Pup to spend time with the kids.
Child ID kits will also be available for parents.
The event is being held at the Percy Goode Gym this year and is expected to be held at various sites around the city in the future.
This year’s National Night Out will also serve as the debut of a new program called Project 365, which allows residents in each district to inform police of a problem in their communities and allows police to target those areas for the next 365 days.