National Night Out, a community event intended to break down barriers between law enforcement and average citizens, returns to Hillsboro next week for the first time in several years.
Hillsboro Police Officer Tim Bell said the free event, which will be held from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 at the old Hillsboro High School site on West Main Street, will be the first National Night Out event in Hillsboro since 2015.
“It hasn’t been done for a couple years,” Bell said. “With everything going on, we just didn’t have the time or manpower to do it.”
Observed nationwide on the first Tuesday in August, National Night Out provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under a positive circumstance, and can be used for crime and drug prevention and awareness, Bell said.
Bell said the old school site will provide plenty of room for activities.
“And the school was nice enough to let us use it,” he said.
This year, the event will include law enforcement agencies and fire departments from around the county.
“What we’ve done here is instead of doing a local National Night Out, we’ve asked all the law enforcement and emergency departments in the county to join us,” he said.
Bell told the Times-Gazette that he is working closely with Scott Miller of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, who is also a member of the Highland County Fire Fighters Association, to coordinate with fire departments at the event.
A DJ will provide live music, and local businesses have been generous in their donations of food and drinks for the event, Bell said.
There will also be displays, booths and handouts from the various agencies participating, including the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Highland County Prosecutor’s Office, Adult Parole Authority and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Roeder will make balloon animals, and attendees can enjoy a ring toss and cotton candy. Burgers, hot dogs and chips will also be offered at no cost, and the sheriff’s office will furnish drinks.
Bell said the spacious grounds of the old high school made it ideal to have a drive-in for classic cars.
For the kids, there will be a bouncy house and demonstrations of a K-9 unit.
Hillsboro Police Officer Shawn Kelly said his department is also organizing a crime scene reenactment room.
“It’ll be something like the TV show ‘CSI,’” he said. “We’ll stage the scene of a crime and let the kids follow the evidence and try to solve it.”
Parents can get an education on safety in the home and what to look for in drug prevention and awareness.
Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District will reinforce the importance of “stop and drop” with their smoke and fire training house.
The Highland County Health Department will showcase a “drug house,” which is set up like a kid’s room with drug paraphernalia hidden throughout. Bell said that should be an eye-opener for parents.
“They can go though and look around and find things to look for,” he said.
Everyone involved is hoping for a nice turnout so people can come out and just enjoy themselves for the evening, Bell said.
“We’re certainly not going to be a county fair by any means,” he said, “but it’s something for them to come out and have a sandwich, and meet all the departments.”
A staple at community events like National Night Out will also be featured: a dunking booth. And Bell has his opinion as to who should brave the water.
“I don’t know if we can convince the chief (Darrin Goudy) to get up in there,” he joked. “He thinks it’s going to be me, but I think he should do it.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.