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Tri-Cities join the nation in celebrating National Night Out

Bob Gecy - (August 16, 2016)

Fountain Inn, Simpsonville and Mauldin

When Executive Director, Matt Peskin introduced National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7, 1984, 2.5 million Americans took part across 400 communities in 23 states. Since that night, according to their website National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide join forces to celebrate National Night Out (NNO).

Peskin said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships.” The campaign, according to their website, has turned into a celebration across America with various events and activities including, but not limited to, block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from emergency personnel, rallies and marches, exhibits, youth events, safety demonstrations and seminars, in an effort to heighten awareness and enhance community relations.

The Tri-Cities of Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn Police Departments and City officials realize the importance of improving relations between citizens and their Police Officers. Here are thoughts and individual ideas about the success each city felt with their NNO celebrations! It seems that music, food, games, and a special twist from each city made the celebration special and a great success!!

Fountain Inn NNO
Lt. Melissa Woods

National Night Out was established by the Bureau of Justice Assistance branch of the Department of Justice in 1984.  The original design was to create opportunity for members of the community and law enforcement to communicate.  The strategy was to select different sections of each community and move the location annually around the agency’s jurisdiction.  After the Fountain Inn Police Department began participating almost 20 years ago, we discovered that the idea of limiting the event to subdivisions or only in portions of the city was not successful for us.  Attendance and participation was small and unpredictable and was reaching too small an audience.

We were faced with altering the original proposal or eliminating our participation.  Ten years ago we decided to try a different approach and closed 3 blocks of South Main Street to produce a “Block Party” atmosphere.  The move was both popular and prosperous.  Our National Night celebration has been so successful it has been copied by other municipalities and has received press coverage from as far away as California.

This year (on August 2, 2016) we had over 30 volunteers along with 15 police officers and members of the City of Fountain Inn Staff  that served 1,000 hot dog plates, over 700 snow cones, 4 churns of homemade ice cream, and 10 pizzas, all at absolutely no cost to the participants.  We also provided electronic fingerprinting for children for their safety, music by Jumping Jukebox, 5 inflatables, 2 of our local Jeep Clubs, a Bradley Tank, a motor grader and other big vehicles for kids to touch and learn about.  Several local Churches also participated with free crafts and corn hole competition.  The Police Department partnered with Target, BI-LO, Fountain Inn Frozen Foods, The Department of Natural Resources and Tony’s Pizza to provide this great family friendly event for the entire community.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lt. Melissa Woods at 908-3602.

Simpsonville NNO
Tiffany Cherry

The Simpsonville Police Department joined over 16,000 communities in celebrating National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm at City Park. Nearly 1,000 of our neighbors and friends came out for fun, food, and comradery with the Simpsonville Police Department.
National Night out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make a neighborhoods a safer, better place.

This year we teamed up with several businesses and organizations for a free, family-friendly event. Activities included several inflatables, corn hole, and woodworking projects. Kids and parents alike were able to sit in the driver’s seat of a SPD police cruiser or Simpsonville Fire Truck, try on a Kevlar vest, and watch as demonstration from the K9 unit.

Hot dogs, snacks, snow cones, snacks, and drinks were served.

“National Night Out is an opportunity for citizens to interact with officers in a relaxed environment. Now more than ever, we wanted to show the community the human side of law enforcement,” said Lieutenant Timmie Williams.

The Simpsonville Police Department has received an outpouring of support from citizen and business community. “In light of the recent national headlines, several citizens and organizations have brought goodies, such as cookies and snacks, to the Police Department as a show of support. Now it is our turn to show the community how much we appreciate them,” added Williams.

We would like to thank the following for donating or contributing to this year’s event: GHS – Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, Upstate Young Marines, Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Faith Renewed Baptist Church, The Blood Connection, Lowes, Deal Mart, Bi-Lo, Pepsi Co and Simpsonville Fire Department. ♦

Mauldin NNO
Cpl. Adam Wilson

On August 2nd Mauldin hosted its annual National Night Out at the Mauldin Cultural Center. This event started out with a rain storm around 4 pm that caused a delay with set up and delayed the band from starting at the original time 5:00 pm. As the weather cleared the band started to play around 6 pm and people started flooding the amphitheater.  We estimated approximately 1000 people attended since we went through 800 hotdogs, 120 hamburgers, Domino’s went through 40 boxes of pizza, Jimmy Johns went through 500 subs, and Zaxby’s went through a unknown number of chips and chicken. The city provided the hotdogs and hamburgers and 5 bounce houses for the kids.

Our vendors that attended were United Methodist who did face paintings, Gleneagle apartment complex handed out snacks and water, Pepsi donated the drinks, Jimmy Johns provided the subs, Domino’s provided pizza, Mauldin First Baptist handed out waters, Renegades lacrosse team cooked the hamburgers and the fire department cooked the hotdogs.

Local promoter, Tony Seawell, had Spirit Well 80’s cover band perform for the crowd. This event turned out being very successful and everyone who attended seemed to enjoy the K-9 demonstration and a dance performance from T-Motion dance studio.♦

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