National Night Out is a unique event celebrated in communities across the country each year to heighten crime and drug-prevention awareness, generate support for local anti-crime programs and celebrate neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
This year’s National Night Out is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, and preparations are underway on both sides of the river. All events and activities are free and open to the public.
Lewiston will host its activities from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Marcotte Park. Lewiston’s multi-agency approach to the event will include the Lewiston Police Department, Lewiston Fire Department, Lewiston Recreation Department, Lewiston Public Works Department, Safe Voices, Androscoggin County Head Start, Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Visible Community, Maine People’s Alliance, Lewiston-Auburn School-Based Health Centers, 911 Call Center, United Ambulance, Healthy Androscoggin, Androscoggin Emergency Management Agency, United Somali Women of Maine and the YWCA.
Major sponsors of the Lewiston event are Walmart, the Police Athletic League (PAL), LA Harley and Nick Knowlton of The Music Connection, who will provide musical entertainment. The local Walmart Distribution Center will provide refreshments.
Auburn will host activities from 5:30 p.m. until dusk at Festival Plaza. Hosted by the Auburn Police Department, the event will feature APD K-9, bicycle and motorcycle team demonstrations; Auburn Fire Department demonstrations; face painting; hula-hoop and jump-rope contests; a bounce house; and an inflatable obstacle course and laser tag arena.
Volunteers will provide child ID kits, DNA swabs, balloons and lots of “give-aways.” Live music will be provided by the band “Five Face North.” APD staff and volunteers will serve up hotdogs, popcorn and lemonade.
“The Auburn PD is always so proud to bring this event to our community,” said Police Chief Phil Crowell. “Every day, our officers work to ensure the safety of the people who live, work and play here. But it takes the entire community to push back the darkness of crime. NNO is a great way to fight crime, build on our police/community partnerships and to have some fun with our neighbors. This is community policing at its best.”
“National Night Out makes you feel good about your community and shows that spending one’s time in a positive manner is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Lewiston Recreation Director Maggie Chisholm.
The brainchild of National Association of Town Watch Executive Director Matt A. Peskin, National Night Out has steadily grown into a major national event since its inception in 1984. Last year’s campaign involved 37.1 million people in 15,325 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.
NATW is a non-profit, crime prevention organization that works with crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Since 1981, NATW has been dedicated to developing organized crime and drug prevention programs nationwide.