Hattiesburg hosts 28th annual 'National Night Out' program

By STAFF REPORTS,

This year, the City of Hattiesburg will host its 28th occurrence of National Night Out with a kick-off event on Thursday, July 26 serving as a precursor to a “Lunch & Learn” for senior citizens and more than 30 neighborhood parties that will happen throughout the city on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

 Deemed as “parties with a purpose,” the city’s neighborhood coordinator, Maxine Coleman, works closely with a committee, representatives from first responder agencies, local churches and neighborhood associations to make sure the event meets the mission of National Night Out – which is to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement – while bringing back a true sense of community.

 “Community policing is a priority for our department. We cannot do what we’re doing without the engagement of our citizens,” said Police Chief Anthony Parker. “Our involvement in National Night Out plays a critical role in building pathways of communication between our officers and our neighbors, and we look forward to it every year.”

 The kick-off event on Thursday, July 26 will consist of city and county department exhibits, emergency vehicle tours, free food, free school supplies and car seats, tours of the African American Military History Museum, children’s activities, neighborhood competitions, trivia, and an open mic and stage for performances.

 "Crime prevention depends on strong, trusting relationships between neighborhoods and police officers, and this annual event is vital toward building those relationships,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Engaged neighborhoods are the heart of our city, and we encourage all residents to join us at the kickoff event on July 26 and at the neighborhood parties on August 7.”

 For 28 of the 35 years that the National Night Out program has existed, the City of Hattiesburg has participated and has consistently been ranked among the top 5 programs in the country for a population of 50,000 – 100,000. This annual program is made possible through many community sponsors and a strong partnership with Forrest County.

 For more information regarding the events and a full list of neighborhood parties, visit www.hattiesburgms.com/nno.