‘Feels like home’: Police, communities join together for National Night Out

·3 min read

Police departments and the community took an opportunity to get to know each other as part of the annual National Night Out.

It’s not only a fun night for everyone who participates; police hope it helps take a bite out of crime.

Police have said the community is an important part of curbing violent crime.

ALSO READ: CMPD: Violent crime, property crimes on the rise in Charlotte

The National Association of Town Watch organized the event, with National Night Out’s origins going back to 1984. It has since grown into a national event with block parties, cookouts, parades and other activities aimed at getting community members to interact with their local police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department had dozens of events scheduled for Tuesday. See the map below to find where the events were held.

Crime reporter Glenn Counts attended the National Night Out events in the Charlotte area.

“It feels like home,” said Deputy Chief Sherie Pearsal with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. She was at an event in the Hidden Valley neighborhood. “Anytime I get to come out and enjoy the presence of the community, it’s an amazing thing.”

The National Night Out in Hidden Valley is typically one of the larger events in Charlotte, but there was also a large turnout in Highland Creek.

“A great time,” resident Michelle Witmer said.

CMPD’s aviation unit, Snoopy, drew a lot of attention in Highland Creek.

The community speaks with CMPD Aviation Unit pilot Sgt. Craig Varnum Tuesday night in Charlotte as part of National Night Out
The community speaks with CMPD Aviation Unit pilot Sgt. Craig Varnum Tuesday night in Charlotte as part of National Night Out

“It’s not just the, ‘Ooh, what is that?’ Or ‘What is this?’ They ask some really good questions,” said Sgt. Craig Varnum a CMPD pilot. “Several kids were asking, ‘How does it fly?’”

Clyde Eidson served as CMPD Assistant Police Chief and flew the original Snoopy from Fort Worth to Charlotte.
Clyde Eidson served as CMPD Assistant Police Chief and flew the original Snoopy from Fort Worth to Charlotte.
Officer Phil Hollifield, a CMPD pilot since 1967, was presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
Officer Phil Hollifield, a CMPD pilot since 1967, was presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
CMS students named the CMPD helicopter
CMS students named the CMPD helicopter

There was music, food and entertainment at both venues.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather visited multiple National Night Out events.

“This is what the light looks like,” Merriweather said. “It looks like people taking care of their neighbors.”

Merriweather talked about the importance of preventing guns from falling into the hands of children.

“So when you are providing an opportunity for neighbors to take care of their kids, let the kids play,” he said. “Eat, have fun. We’re showing alternatives. We’re showing this is what the light looks like.”

National Night Out is about the community taking a stand against crime -- Donna Davidson, who just moved from Miami, wanted to join.

“Our house got burglarized about a month prior to us leaving Miami, so I’m delighted to see the presence of the police and the fire, it warms my heart,” Davidson said.

National Night Out events:

  • The Matthews Police Department hosted an event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Stumptown Park, which is at 120 S. Trade Street, and it’ll include free food and games.

  • The Troutman Police Department hosted its event at 6 p.m. at Troutman ESC Park, and Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell will also be on hand to speak about the community.

  • In Rowan County, the Salisbury Police Department hosted its National Night Out event starting at 6 p.m. at Bell Tower Green Park.

  • The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office hosted its event on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Dunlap Street near the courthouse.

  • In Kannapolis, the celebration was from 5 to 7 p.m. at Veterans Park.

You can find more information about National Night Out events at this link.

(WATCH BELOW: Officers connect with communities for National Night Out)