SIDNEY — National Night Out, the nation-wide, annual program in which local law enforcement aims to connect and build community relations, is set for the Tuesday evening, Aug. 7.
The first Tuesday in August across America is the day annually designated to promote crime prevention and police-community relations.
The city of Sidney will observe National Night Out between 5:30 to 10 p.m. downtown on the Shelby County courtsquare and at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 707 N. Ohio Ave.
The Sidney Police Department (SPD), Ohio State Highway Patrol and Sidney Fire Department will be present to facilitate communication and foster relationships with residents. Due to staffing issues, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will not be formally participating this year, said Shelby County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jim Frye, but when not responding to calls, deputies plan to visit with each of the communities.
Sidney Alive invites the public to join the free attractions including various games, a coloring contest, crafts, demonstrations, free fidget spinners to be given away and other take-home goodies for kids, as well enjoy free food provided by Connection Point Church.
The SPD will have bicycle registration forms available as well as child fingerprinting and DNA kits for parents who wish to have that information, Sidney Police Community Service Officer Mike McRill said.
“It’s a big community party. And that’s what National Night Out was designed to be. It’s a community event that brought law enforcement and the community together in a positive, fun environment, as opposed to when we get a call on the street,” McRill said.
McRill also plans to issue “tickets” to any child wearing a helmet while on their bike, which is a reward to be redeemed for free ice cream at McDonald’s.
St. Paul’s United Church Co-Event Organizer Gina Skorupski said as in years past, there will be lots of games for kids and free food from 6 to 8 p.m. in the church’s parking lot. There will be various games and prizes, a D.J. playing oldies, line-dancing and new music, Bingo, and hot dogs, popcorn and snow cones.
Officers will be moving back and forth between the two locations, as well as members of the fire department, and possibly a fire engine, depending upon calls.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful outreach with the community,” Skorupski said. “Just to see the kids’ faces light up as they come across the parking lot. We always have a lot of fun.”
Sidney Alive representative Kristin Arnett said there are at least 16 committed vendors planning to participate Tuesday. She also said for the first time this year three food trucks will be present to offer other food options available for purchase.
“This event is related to a neighborhood watch, but we currently have no active neighborhood watches in Sidney. In some other cities, the police travel from block party to block party (on National Night Out). Here we will travel from courtsquare up to the church,” McRill said.
National Association of Town Watch sponsors National Night Out, which now involves over 38 million people across 16,000 communities from all 50 states, according to the National Night Out website.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.