By Tierra Harris | Web Editor-in-Chief
Last Tuesday, Lowe’s hosted the third-annual National Night Out Against Crime event, where the SADD club, the Avon Police Department and over 15 other organizations all offered a helping hand to better relationships with the community and our local law enforcement.
SADD sponsor Ms. Cynthia Whyde said that over the course of the last three years there has been steady growth with more sponsors and people attending the event. The number of attendants has almost quadrupled since 2015, hitting an all-time high this year, with approximately 4000 guests.
“It’s challenging for people out there and its challenging for law enforcement, also,” Whyde said. “A few bad eggs ruin it for everybody, but I think, by in large, we have pretty good law enforcement in our area.”
With SADD advocating students to be against destructive decisions, Whyde said that having a positive relationship with police officers is essential.
“If there’s healthy dialogue between organizations, citizens and law enforcement, there will be a lot more things getting done.”
This year, SADD, along with members of Student Government, held a variety of activities for both children and parents to learn about the origins of SADD. Other sponsors of the event included the Department of Child Services, Sheltering Wings, Target, Coca-Cola and more that all gave back to the community with fun activities like face painting, trampolines and dunk tanks. Food and drinks were also provided.
SADD President senior Grace Oliver said that the importance of “helping out the community and law enforcement” is exemplified by the Night Out Against Crime event and “just being supportive of [police officers]” makes the community a better place for everyone.
Over the course of the last three years, Oliver said that she has seen more and more people show up to the event, as well as more volunteers getting involved for its preparation.
“It’s a good thing to be exposed to positive experiences and know what the right things to do are,” Oliver said. “If [law enforcement] knows that we support them, it makes their jobs a lot easier.”
Although there were many fun activities for younger children, educational aspects were a key part of the event. There were special talks with law enforcement, fire department equipment displays and a live attack on police officers to show the intensity of the event for the audience.
Assistant Chief of Avon Police Mr. Brian Nugent said that his overall favorite part of the event is watching the community interact with police in an environment where they can openly ask questions and learn more about law enforcement.
“I believe this event has had a tremendously positive impact on the community in terms of engagement with the public. We have received countless letters and messages of appreciation for our hard work in preparing and organizing the event. Our community members have regularly shared their admiration for our agency making community relationships and outreach programs a priority for our residents,” Nugent said.
All across the country the National Night Out Against Crime event advocates the same moral ideas in order to work towards an ideal relationship between communities and law enforcement. This year, Avon attracted double the amount of guests than last year and had a large increase in the number of vendors, sponsors and volunteers present. The police department, SADD club, and other sponsors are working hard to include even more people in the event for years to come.
“We want our community to know that we value the integrity of our staff and within our agency above all standards,” Nugent said. “We look forward to continuing to build upon the programs and trust that we established here in Avon.”