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Huntersville Police Department Sgt. Brian Luthart shows off the Bearcat vehicle at last year's National Night Out.

Though National Night Out events are organized by law enforcement organizations across the country, the Huntersville department is also using it as a tool to educate the public on other issues. And by having three locations around town with activities for all family members on Tuesday, Aug. 7, officers hope to bring the crime and drug prevention event back to the neighborhood level.

National Night Out is an annual community-building initiative that is aimed to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderies to make areas safer. It typically occurs in neighborhoods and other facilities nationwide the first Tuesday in August through block parties, festivals, cookouts and other community events. 

“We’re actually trying to make it become a neighborhood-based event,” said Sgt. Bradley Habenicht, community services coordinator for the Huntersville Police Department.

Cornelius National Night Out

A Cornelius Police Department officer performs a demonstration in front of the Lake Patrol boat at last year’s National Night Out event. 

The primary location for bounce houses, water slides and emergency vehicles will be at Northcross Shopping Center, but there will be more tailored, smaller-scale activities at Waymer Park and Huntington Green.

Habenicht said when the town first started its participation in 2006, it wasn’t feasible to have multiple neighborhoods represented.

“Back then the town was really spread out,” he said. “Now that the town is bigger, we’re pushing in that direction.” 

Novant Health will have a free vaccination clinic at Northcross since it’s likely to draw the biggest crowd, Habenicht said. But there will be vendors at all locations to present their resources for domestic violence prevention and mental health.

“We’re trying to provide a service to people in those communities who may not have access otherwise,” he said.

Over the past few decades, National Night Out participation has grown to more than 37 million people in more than 15,000 communities to include all U.S. states, territories and military bases, as well as Canada. 

Here is what’s planned for the rest of the lake area that night: 

 

Cornelius

Starting at 6 p.m., members of the Cornelius Police Department will be at Bailey Road Park to promote community safety and crime prevention. There will be children’s activities, food and entertainment, including a showing of the movie “Justice League” on the blimp screen as part of the town’s Outdoor Cinema Series.

Kids will be able to venture inside first-responder vehicles, including a fire truck, ambulance and Lake Patrol boat.

The police department will also be collecting school supplies for the event. Items collected will be distributed to students at Cornelius Elementary, J.V. Washam Elementary, Bailey Middle and Hough High schools. Recommended supplies include paper, pencils, pens, highlighters, notebooks, binders, index cards, tissues, crayons, markers, colored pencils and backpacks. 

Bailey Road Park is at 11536 Bailey Road Park.

 

Davidson

The Davidson Police Department’s event will take place 5-7 p.m. at Roosevelt Wilson Park, 420 Griffith St. 

There will be hotdogs and hamburgers served, courtesy of Brickhouse Tavern. Davidson residents and employees are encouraged to attend and bring a side dish or dessert to share.

Tents with tables and chairs will be available so that attendees “are comfortable and have plenty of seating,” a press release from the town states. A dunking booth will be on-site, and face painting, a free raffle for prizes and other activities are planned for children. 

The Davidson Police Department will distribute information and items from the Watch for Me NC initiative to educate those in attendance about pedestrian safety. 

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Davidson Police Chief Peggy Dunn speaks to residents.

“We value our partnership with everyone in Davidson who works with us to keep our town the safe place that it is to work, live and raise a family,” said Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn in the release. “This year we hope people from all parts of Davidson will join us to celebrate our wonderful community and meet our officers, including several new ones.”

A variety of groups will be present to educate residents at Davidson’s event, including: North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers, Mecklenburg County’s District Attorney’s office, MEDIC, Mental Health Association, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Communications, Safe Alliance, Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Davidson Fire Department (with a fire truck) and CharMeck Alerts.

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