National Night Out Tonight in Community Park

By Benjamin Cox on August 1, 2023 at 6:58am

One of the biggest events of the year for Community Park in Jacksonville returns tomorrow night.

National Night Out opens at 5:30 in Community Park. The first National Night Out was introduced in 1984 with over 400 communities across 23 states participating. National Night Out began in Jacksonville in 2016.

Morgan Scott Cass Crime Stoppers Coordinator Loren Hamilton says that this year is expected to be one of the biggest celebrations in the history of the event: “I think it’s even bigger this year. We’ve got a couple of exhibitors – DNR for one and some other ones that are new this year. Quite a few, probably 90% of the ones we have had in the past are returning. I couldn’t be any happier with the community’s response to this event.”

Like the national model, Jacksonville’s event doesn’t just involve law enforcement. Hamilton says that it involves multiple community partners buying into the idea that community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie builds safer neighborhoods: “I think people now people know that this is a chance to come out and not only meet the officers, obviously; but meet EMS and Fire as well as a lot of community agencies. The police department, for one, it’s an opportunity to meet the officers in a non-confrontational, non-stressful situation.”

The event will run until 8PM. The Jacksonville Salvation Army canteen will be distributing free snacks while the Grotto Bus will be on hand selling food and drinks.

Hamilton says if you’re a community agency and would like to participate in the event tomorrow night, call him at the Jacksonville Police Department at 217-479-4630.