Berlin Plans National Night Out

BERLIN –  Local law enforcement agencies will once again work to enhance their partnerships with the community through National Night Out.

On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the Berlin Police Department will host a National Night Out celebration at Henry Park from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. National Night Out events will also be held in Ocean Pines at White Horse Park and in Salisbury at Salisbury City Park.

Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing says the evening of fun and activities is a key opportunity for community building.

“We have the smallest child and the oldest of people that are part of this,” he said. “It’s for the whole community. We want everybody to come have a great time.”

In Berlin, the police department has been participating in National Night Out since roughly 2000, when the state provided grant funding to help jurisdictions in their efforts to build community partnerships. When the grant funding dried up a few years later, Downing said local organizations such as churches and civic groups stepped up to make sure the event continued.

“The community rallied around the event itself,” he said.

Downing said National Night Out was a chance for law enforcement to interact with area residents under positive circumstances.

“If we want to do a good job in serving the community we need them to buy in,” he said. “We have to speak to them when nothing’s going on.”

While attendance at the event can hit 3,000 people in an election year, most years it attracts around 1,000 people.

“That’s a good turnout for a community our size,” he said.

This year’s event at Henry Park will include free food, school supplies, music, educational displays, games and medical screenings. Downing said each year more and more community groups sign up to take part.

National Night Out events have been growing elsewhere as well. In Salisbury this year, police are inviting citizens to Salisbury City Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 6 for free hotdogs, drinks and snow cones. The event will also include games and activities, informational booths and a pet parade.

In Ocean Pines, the public is invited to White Horse Park from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for what’s being described as a National Night Out block party. Police will host drone demonstrations, giveaway bicycles through a raffle drawing and will even have a dunk tank featuring Police Chief Dave Massey and Delegate Wayne Hartman.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.