Liberty County residents can interact with their protectors and learn more about staying safe during the 2011 National Night Out from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday at Bradwell Park in downtown Hinesville.
The Hinesville Police Department and Target are sponsoring the free event. Armstrong Atlantic State University’s police department, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and MACE are participating, along with a number of area churches, schools, social organizations and businesses.
The annual crime and drug prevention get-together was established 28 years ago by the National Association of Town Watch, according to www.nationalnightout.org. Last year more than 37 million people participated, according to the website.
Hinesville Police Department Officer James Williams is coordinating the local Night Out. He also oversees the HPD Neighborhood Watch program.
“This is information (children) can use to keep themselves protected between school and home,” the officer said. “It’s for the parents as well.”
Williams said some kids dren are not taught to trust police officers. He remembered when he entered a local store one day and overheard a mother tell her misbehaving child to straighten up or Williams would arrest him.
“I don’t want that child to be scared to tell me when something is wrong,” Williams said. “Too many of our children grow up being scared of police officers when they shouldn’t be.”
The community officer said one of his goals at National Night Out is for residents to “get comfortable” with police officers, and learn about the jobs they perform.
“This is also a message for the ones who want to break the laws,” Williams said. “We are letting them know that the police department and the community of Hinesville are going to stand together, be strong and give crime a one way ticket out of our city.”
Children can get finger printed during the event, meet police dogs and their handlers and greet McGruff the Crime Dog and Georgia Power’s Louie the Lightning Bug, he said. The Hinesville Fire Department will bring its smokehouse and there will be raffles and a Hula Hoop contest, Williams said. Parents also can pick up resource materials and children can take home coloring books that address such issues as bullying.
“There will be gun safety as well, provided by Mission Essential and the National Rifle Association,” he added.
Williams said the Mt. Zion Chapel Mime Team, Project Outreach GANG singers and local recording artist Donna Davis will perform. Free refreshments will be provided.
For information, call 368-8211.