Grovetown Department of Public Safety Capt. Gary Owens is hoping residents will turn on their porch lights and leave their homes Tuesday to head for a citywide block party.
For a decade, the department had held National Night Out. The annual event offers residents a chance to meet their neighbors, ask questions and meet their local law enforcement officers and learn to work together to stamp out crime in the city, Owens said.
"It's kind of a way of saying, 'This is what we offer your community,' but we also are trying to promote a message of unity in a crime-fighting situation," Owens said. "It gets some awareness out there to what the Department of Public Safety here offers."
With the city's explosion of home development, Owens said the event also offers new and old residents alike a chance to network and share problems and solutions.
"We have new subdivisions ... coming in and we want these people to know that (their) neighbors are here as well," Owens said. "Neighbors in other subdivisions, they may have similar problems or similar situations."
Owens said hundreds of people headed to the department's headquarters station last year. The free festivities including a cookout from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at the headquarters station at 306 East Robinson Ave.
In addition to refreshments, residents will have the chance to meet and talk with representatives from the department and other local law enforcement and community agencies, including the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Fort Gordon, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Columbia County Extension Service and the Georgia State Patrol, Owens said.
The department's newest member, an aerial fire truck put into service Aug. 1, will be on display to show residents where their tax dollars are going.
The event also will include information about the city's ongoing Project SafeHouse, in which citizens volunteer their home as a safe location for anyone in trouble to call and wait for police.
National Night Out has been held more than two decades and is an annual crime and drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.
"National Night Out originally started out in all these other states as a crime awareness program and we have taken it a step further," Owens said. "We do the crime awareness. We also do public information, public awareness and even self-help situations like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)."
Jefferson Electric will give a demonstration of what happens when high voltage electricity sources, such as downed wires, are touched, Owens said.
"It's very, very visual and very, very interesting," Owens said. "...It makes a very good impact."
For more information on National Night Out, call the department at 863-1212.
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