Strengthening community relationships was the goal of a National Night Out event held Tuesday in Hillsboro by local law enforcement agencies.
National Night Out events began across the country more than 30 years ago, designed to serve as a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live,” according to the National Association of Town Watch, which coordinates the events.
The Hillsboro Police Department, Highland County Sheriff’s Office and Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District staged activities and events Tuesday as part of the program.
Hillsboro Police Chief Todd Whited said that pens and other items given away by HPD were made possible by donations.
Police also collected contributions toward their “Shop With a Cop” program, when police officers take children shopping at Christmas.
Harley, HPD’s K9 police dog, was on hand Tuesday, and music played through loudspeakers as a sizable crowd gathered throughout the evening.
The event was held on Governor Trimble Place, where one feature was a make-believe crime scene designed for children to play detective. Children studied a chalk outline of a crime victim as well as personal items and clues nearby, and then tried to remember what they had seen and describe them to police.
Police said that Hillsboro’s first foray into the National Night Out project included a “soft opening,” with mostly social media notices. Future events will be more highly publicized, they said.
More than 16,000 communities across the nation reportedly participated in National Night Out events on Tuesday.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.