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September 07 10:12 AM

Cities gearing up for National Night Out

Features Editor kerrykirspel@nwcable.net

National Night Out will be celebrated in Caddo and Bossier parishes on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and representatives from various law enforcement agencies joined with community leaders to announce the area’s participation.

National Night Out is a communitybuilding campaign that promotes policecommunity partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. The annual event enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement, making neighborhoods safer, more caring places in which to live.

Citizens often close streets in their neighborhoods to hold block parties with food and fun. The relaxed atmosphere enables people to get to know each other better as well as to familiarize themselves with the police officers and sheriff’s deputies who work every day to keep the streets safe.

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler said, “It takes citizens as well as law enforcement agencies to work in partnership to create that kind of environment. We want to make sure that our citizens on both sides of the river have opportunities to be able to talk to, speak to, and have the relationships with law enforcement here throughout the area.”

She and Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker then read a joint proclamation naming Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, as National Night Out in the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City.

Walker urged citizens to register to hold block parties to get to know their neighbors and their local law enforcement officials. “We’re all in this together, so we need all of you participating,” he said.

Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump also encouraged citizens to get actively involved in National Night Out, adding that last year the city witnessed about 120 block parties.

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said Night Out is an opportunity to let law enforcement know what is going on in neighborhoods, citing the “importance of neighbors and the community being behind everything we do because we can’t do it alone.

“We need people that are nosy neighbors. We need more nosy neighbors. We need more Gladys Kravitzes,” he said, mentioning the gossipy neighbor in the TV series “Bewitched.” “We need more people looking out the windows and telling us what they see if they see anything suspicious.

“And this is an opportunity for not only the neighbors to get to know the neighbors, but it’s a good time for the neighbors to get to know the police, the sheriffs, the marshals, the ones that happen to have the responsibility for keeping them safe.”

City Marshal Charlie Caldwell said he looks forward to National Night Out “that we may grow closer and better as a community.”

National Night Out is an opportunity for citizens and law enforcement to know and understand each other better. Mayor Tyler said, “One of our highest priorities is for us to have our law enforcement out there with citizens, listening to their concerns, also fellowshipping with them so that they can know we’re really here to help, we’re really here to protect, and so we need you to work with us to make sure that we are as safe as we can be.”

Mayor Walker said, “It’s just imperative that we work together as a community, and having this as a reminder is just one way to help us get the message out that we’re all in this together, and we need the help to find the bad guys in our community.”

National Night Out does have an impact. SPD public information officer Marcus Hines said, “When you start to engage with the public, you may see residual effects … but we do know because of the conversations that we have individually, collectively with our citizens that there is an impact simply because of the sheer participation, the numbers are increasingly going up with participants each year, even during the bad weather.”

To register a block party or request a street closure, go online to caddosheriff.org in Caddo Parish or shreveportla.org in Shreveport. In Bossier Parish, contact Dep. Rod White at 965-2203 or email at rwhite@bossiersheriff.com.

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