07/31/05 — National Night Out is Tuesday

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National Night Out is Tuesday

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 31, 2005 2:04 AM

The National Night Out program in Wayne County brings together residents from neighborhoods and subdivisions and gives them the opportunity to meet law-enforcement officers and to see their equipment close up.

The county's 13th annual National Night Out program will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Herman Park in Goldsboro.

The program is designed to emphasize the partnership between law enforcement and residents in order to remove crime and drugs from the neighborhoods.

Two of the county's top law officers, Goldsboro Police Chief Tim Bell and Sheriff Carey Winders, have said their agencies cannot combat crime and drugs alone and need the public's help.

A total of 189 neighborhood Crime Watches have been organized -- 90 in Goldsboro and 99 in the county -- to assist law authorities.

Any neighborhood or subdivision that wants a crime watch or wants to revitalize an existing program was asked to call Goldsboro police at 580-4231 or the Sheriff's Office at 731-1481.

"Citizens need to know that we do have community watch programs," Bell said. "But they are only as strong as the people in them."

The four goals of National Night Out are to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, to generate support for, and participation in, anti-crime efforts, to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Residents have been asked by the program organizers to lock their doors, turn on an outside porch light and spend the evening with friends and neighbors.

The Rev. Dr. Louis Leigh, the pastor of First African Baptist Church in Goldsboro, will be the guest speaker soon after the program opens at 6 p.m.

This year's National Night Out is sponsored by Goldsboro police, Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Goldsboro Housing Authority. It will include displays of law-enforcement and fire department equipment, performances by entertainers and free refreshments.

Among the special equipment that is expected to be displayed include the Highway Patrol's helicopter, the Governor's Highway Safety Program's breath alcohol testing, or BAT, mobile and a driving-while-impaired simulator and the Goldsboro Fire Department's fire safety house. Other fire, rescue and law-enforcement equipment will be displayed.

Businesses, civic groups, churches and other organizations will have information booths.

Children can ride the Kiwanis Club's miniature train and be entertained by clowns. A child's identification booth also will be set up.

Other groups will offer hot dogs, potato chips, popcorn, ice cream and drinks.

Kandis Weeks, the reigning Miss Goldsboro, will preside over the opening ceremony. A law-enforcement honor guard will present the colors and will be followed by the national anthem. Chief Bell, Sheriff Winders and Mayor Al King will follow with brief remarks.

King also has signed a proclamation, declaring Tuesday as "National Night Out Day." The nationwide program, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, was started more than 20 years ago.

Entertainers scheduled to perform include André Elliott, Jessica Cox and David Howell, Edward Whitley, Elexus Best, Tyrell Rawls, Infiniti, the Enterpretations ensemble, Michael Atkins, Danny Johnson and Serita Hooper, and 2 Live.

The Eastern Wayne High School marching band will close the program at about 8:30 p.m.

More information is available from Goldsboro police Cpls. Teresa Cox at 580-4256 or Marissa Davis at 580-4238 or Sheriff's Cpl. Rebecca Sasser at 705-6542.

Pikeville also will hold a National Night Out program on Aug. 23, coinciding with an open house at area schools.