2021: National Night Out file

Members of the Angleton Fire Department hand out treats during National Night Out festivities Oct. 6, 2021, in Angleton.

National Night Out is typically the first Tuesday in August, however, local officials decided that was simply too hot that time of year to do in Texas.

Multiple law enforcement agencies decided to reschedule for the first Tuesday of October, when they expected the temperatures to be more hospitable.

Established in 1984, the events are intended not only to bring neighbors together, to be a bridge between the police and their communities that will, in the words of its national campaign, “make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.”

“I know there are some neighborhoods in other cities that actually go out and have a block party,” said Carmen McKenney, who serves as records clerk and administrative assistant for Freeport’s Criminal Investigations Division. She has been involved in Freeport’s event for the past 10 years.

“For some reason down here in the South, in our area, it’s just not done that way. They do it in one location,” she said.

This year, departments of all sizes are participating, from the Village of Jones Creek to Lake Jackson. Even Brazosport College is getting in on the act with its inaugural event that puts the spotlight on the campus police force.

In many cases, other civil servants and first responders will also participate, including fire departments, EMS, game wardens and beyond.

BRAZOSPORT COLLEGE

In an attempt to connect more with the community, the Brazosport College Police Department is scheduled to have its very first National Night Out event on the campus at 500 College Drive in Lake Jackson.

“National Night Out is a fantastic annual nationwide event that hopes to promote partnerships and build camaraderie with our neighbors in the community,” Brazosport College Police Chief Chad Leveritt said. “As part of Crime Prevention Month, held during the month of October, National Night Out is one of the many events that Brazosport College Police and Student Life Departments will host to provide safety and crime prevention tips, and a chance to visit and learn a little about BC.”

The college’s event is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Red Lot of Brazosport College near the Dow Academic Center, Leveritt said.

The event will include inflatables, games, free food and a chance to meet and visit with Brazosport College Police Officers.

“National Night Out is a great opportunity for students and the community to socialize with our police officers,” Leveritt said. “And also gives the officers a chance to show appreciation for the endless support the community provides to BC.”

The event is open to the public and the department hopes to make it an annual event, he said.

“Events such as National Night Out, along with other community events, is an opportunity for our police department to connect with the students and community, which is very important to us,” Leveritt said.

ANGLETON

Getting back to pre-pandemic National Night Out events, the Angleton Police Department plans to attend 12 block parties throughout the city instead of the parade-style they have done for the past two years, Sgt. Ernest DeLosSantos said.

“We used to do a parade-style event, and now it’s block parties, so this year we’re going back to that style of event,” he said. “It’s citizens from all over the community putting on these block parties. We’re going to have three teams. Each will be responsible for going to certain parties, and we’re all going to meet at Triumph Church.”

From 6 to about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the teams will be stopping at First Missionary Church, Angleton Heritage Court, Oak Park Court, Cambridge Apartments, Alexander Court, 1900 block of Mulberry Street, Orchard Park, St. Johns Lutheran Church, 200 block of East Bronco Bend and 2700 block of North Velasco Street.

“We’ll be giving out goody bags for the kids at the different block parties,” he said. “It’s a way for us to partner with the community and engage with the community, gaining their trust and for them to meet us and to show them, we’re human just like them. We’ll be talking with the participants of the block party.”

Because of the number of events, the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with Angleton Police Department and also hitting some of the locations, as well as Savannah Plantation, a neighborhood off of FM 1462.

CLUTE

The city's National Night Out will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clute Municipal Park.

“It'll be, of course, fire, EMS and the city vehicles as well be out there," Clute Police Chief James Fitch said. "It's going to be a time for people to come out and just interact with the entire city."

There will also be food, a bounce house and dunk tanks.

The origin of National Night Out was for people to come outside and meet their neighbors, he said.

“The cities have grown so much that it's just stretched too thin to kind of go and to actually spend time with people, because if we went from neighborhood to neighborhood, we'd be here for about 10 minutes and move on to the next one," Fitch said. "This is a central location that everybody can come to and everybody can interact together.”

FREEPORT

The Freeport Police Department will host a gathering from 6 to 8 p.m at Freeport Municipal Park.

Refreshments including hot dogs and chips will be served to guests.

“A lot of the churches and different organizations come out and have tables,” McKenney said. “The people that I have talked to have said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll be there!’”

There will also be a DJ providing music and a petting zoo for children to enjoy.

“It’s just a night for the community to come out and get together and meet each other and get to know fire and EMS,” McKenney said. “The fire department will be out and they’ll bring units to the event.”

IOWA COLONY

From 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Iowa Colony Police Department will visit different blocks throughout the Meridiana subdivision, Iowa Colony Police Chief Aaron Bell said.

“We are going to neighborhoods and areas in the city that let us know they’re having block parties,” Bell said. “We’re teaming up with the fire department, and both of us are hitting them all. Right now, there are about three. We want to get to know the community and get to know this on a one-on-one basis.”

LAKE JACKSON

The city will celebrate National Night Out with a First Responders Meet and Greet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at McLean Park, 93 Lake Road.

Police, fire, EMS and Citizens on Patrol representatives will be there to interact with the community, Lake Jackson Training Sgt. Nick Ross said.

“It will be similar to our touch-a-truck events,” he said.

Kids and community members get to explore the response vehicles inside and out, Ross said.

There are also a couple of citizen events throughout the city where first responders have been requested to make appearances. These will not be listed as they are private events being held by residents, Ross said.

“We wanted to go back to the tradition — how it originated so citizens can interact with police in their community,” he said.

The departments want to get back to going to neighborhoods to meet the community where they are comfortable, like at barbecues or dinners hosted by neighborhoods within the community, Ross said.

JONES CREEK

From 6 to 9 p.m., the Jones Creek Marshal’s Office invites the community for a night of fun and fellowship with neighbors and first responders. The office boasts of fire truck rides, a bounce house and free hot dogs.

Before the event, donations of baked goods will be accepted at City Hall for a cakewalk.

The office is at 7207 Stephen F. Austin Road. For information, attendees are encouraged to call 979-233-3091.

RICHWOOD

Richwood’s National Night Out is from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Ellis Park in Richwood.

The event is going to feature free hot dogs and popcorn, alongside an inflatable bounce house, a DJ providing music, a rock climbing wall and yard games.

LifeFlight, the EMS and fire department, plans on participating along with the Richwood Police Department.

“The whole idea is to enhance the relationship between the public and the police and your neighbors, but if we can take that to the next level,” Richwood Police Chief Stephen Mayer said.

National Night Out is one of Mayer’s favorite events every year, he said.

“Many times when we're interacting with folks, it's in a negative environment and this is a positive environment,'' Mayer said.

SWEENY

While Sweeny’s Police Department is not officially holding any events for National Night Out, the Windmill Run Apartments at 300 Silverleaf Road has invited local law enforcement officials to speak to children as a way of encouraging young residents to stay on the right path.

“I want to make sure we can get them started on the right path and the right track and what they need to do,” Meshel McGregor, resident coordinator for Portfolio Residential Services said.

Any children who wish to attend are welcome.

WEST COLUMBIA

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the First Capitol Park, there will be hot dogs and a bouncy house for kids to celebrate National Night Out, West Columbia Lt. Ashley Baker said.

“We haven't had one since COVID, so I’ve never done a National Night Out for the city,” Baker said. “We did have neighborhoods put something on, and we would go, but no neighborhoods have told us they are putting anything on so. This will help us meet community members, that way, they know who we are, and we know who they are.”

Kent Holle is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0154.

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