On Tuesday, the Grovetown Department of Public Safety was overrun by citizens.
Several hundred made their presence felt by taking part in the 19 Annual National Night Out, hosted by the department.
The event was created to get residents out of their houses and spend an evening outside with neighbors and law enforcement officers, said Capt. Gary Owens.
"We bought close to 300 hot dogs," Owens said a day after the event. "And we don't have any left."
The lack of leftovers was a sign to the department that the community it is bound to protect wants to help fight crime, Owens said.
The Dillard family said they attended the gathering because they wanted their two boys to meet the officers and understand they are there to help.
"We want them to know the faces of these officers," said Sandy Dillard. "This is a great thing for the city to have. It's like the old days when values were important."
The officers Dillard introduced to her sons to represented three different agencies.
The Grovetown Department of Public Safety officers were joined by Georgia State Patrol officers and Columbia County Sheriff's Department deputies, who were handing out junior deputy badges.
"I just wish more of the city would have come out," Dillard said.
Many of those who did brave the hot weather brought children with them. The children were treated to magic tricks and allowed to tour the fire safety trailer that simulates what would happen if there house were to catch fire.
For the adults, agencies had out flyers and brochures that told them how to avoid being a victim from everything from drunk driving to avoiding money scams.
"We just wanted everyone to come out and learn how to be safe," Owens said.
The success of the event encouraged the department to already begin planning for next year's night out. Owens said there are plans to attract additional agencies from the area and hopefully a greater number of citizens.
"This gets bigger every year and it can only grow from here," Owens said.
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