PELL CITY — Its focus is to promote neighbors meeting neighbors, and that means, residents of communities throughout the country getting together for a fun family outing, but there’s even more to the story for the event known as National Night Out.
The Pell City Police Department has adopted and hosted the event to join in a national gathering for five years now, said Pell City Police Chief Clay Morris, including Tuesday night's event.
“Community awareness, safety and security tips, crime prevention strategies, and a better understanding and knowledge of the community’s first responders and law enforcement agencies are all part of the intent,” Morris said.
"National Night Out does focus on our youth and children, however, the event is for the entire family,” he said.
St. Clair County Sheriff Billy Murray echoed Morris’ remarks.
“We have the opportunity to be seen, and meet our community in a different light,” Murray said. “Not one of being involved in an emergency situation, but one that is conducive to building these relationships between law enforcement and our citizens.’
"It especially helps youngsters to see law enforcement officers as people that they can turn to if they find themselves needing help. It’s very important.”
The number of volunteers from all kinds of city and county departments it takes to get it done is critical, Morris said.
“It takes a large number of volunteers from so many agencies,” he said.
The effort educates and provides community awareness, safety and security tips, crime prevention strategies, and a better understanding and knowledge of the community’s first responders and law enforcement agencies, Morris said.
These factors, along with the free food and games, entertainment and fun, are what drives the event for the officers.
There were likely close to 500 who turned out for the event, Morris said, and he wanted to express gratitude for the community getting out to learn from and support their law enforcement agencies.
Those directly involved in providing services for Night Out include the Pell City Police Department, Pell City Fire Department, the St Clair County Sheriff’s Office the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Alabama Department of Natural Resources, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, the Alabama District Attorney’s Association Office of Prosecution Service Facility Dog Program, the Pell City Parks and Recreation Department, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, and McSweeney Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge of Pell City.
“Our departments being involved in these activities is very important, and allows us to interact with our communities in a positive mode,” Murray said.