Meet officers, neighbors on National Night Out

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comAugust 1, 2013 

MS National night out

MARCI STENBERG/mstenberg@mercedsunstar.com Merced County residents in several communities came out Tuesday for National Night Out, with the goal of fighting crime in their communities. Celebrations were held in Merced’s Applegate Park, in addition to downtown Livingston, Dos Palos and the Target shopping center in Atwater. The event, which happens the first Tuesday every August, is an opportunity for residents to meet their police officers and firefighters, sign up to form Neighborhood Watch programs and learn crime-fighting tips. Abigale Rocha, 10, gives McGruff the police dog a big hug during Tuesday (08-07-2012) nights National Night Out in Applegate Park, Merced, Ca. For more information about the National Night Out program visit www.nationalnightout.org.

MARCI STENBERG — Merced Sun-Star

— First responders across Merced County will ask residents next month to come out and say hello during "National Night Out," a 29-year-old nationwide event.

National Night Out happens the first Tuesday every August, and is an opportunity for residents to meet police officers and firefighters, build a sense of community, and learn crime and drug prevention tips.

Several events are planned countywide Aug. 6.

Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann said residents can begin to feel uneasy after shootings or other violence in their neighborhoods. He said meeting with neighbors can help cure that uneasiness.

"We believe in building partnerships that will bring back that (feeling of) comfort," Mann said.

Dos Palos plans to hold its National Night Out from 5 to 9 p.m. at Colony Center Park, near Marguerite Street and Center Avenue.

Anti-bullying information and a demonstration from the K-9 unit will accompany the snacks provided.

The Merced Police Department plans to hold its annual event from 6 to 8 p.m. at Applegate Park, near 25th and R streets. Entry to the park's zoo and rides in Kiddieland are free of charge during the event.

The Merced Police Department also encourages residents to plan events with their neighbors. To have a police officer, code enforcement officer or firefighter visit your block party, complete a Neighborhood Block Party form, available from the Merced Police Department, 470 W. 11th St. in Merced, or at www.cityofmerced.org.

Cpl. William Novetzke said the Atwater Police Department's event is planned from 4 to 8 p.m. at SuperTarget, 1000 Commerce Ave. in Atwater.

Police officers and firefighters will be on hand.

"National Night Out is a partnership with the community and law enforcement to bridge the gap," Novetzke said. "People can come out and ask questions."

Revelers will get a chance to meet Atwater's crime scene unit and the young people who are involved in the Police Explorers program.

The Livingston Police Department organized a National Night Out event from 6 to 8 p.m. at C and Main streets.

WestAmerica Bank and Foster Farms sponsored the event. Organizers plan food, a raffle and a possible appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog.

The Los Banos Police Department partnered with Target, the Los Banos Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol and Volunteers Interacting to Advance Law Enforcement for National Night Out in Los Banos.

The event is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. at Big Page Park, 1055 W. I St. in Los Banos. Volunteers will fingerprint children and serve hot dogs as well as soda.

For more information about the National Night Out program, visit www. nationalnightout.org.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or tmiller@mercedsunstar.com.

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