AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Police agencies in central Indiana and across the country are gearing up to host National Night Out Against Crime events this month. For some, it’s a decades long tradition, but for other departments the annual event is new.
This is just the second year Avon police have organized a National Night Out Against Crime event. In 2015, more than 1,200 people attended the gathering to get to know the officers and build relationships between the department and the community. This year the agency is hoping for even more.
“They do so much for us, that we need to show our support,” Patty Homoky, Old National Bank assistant branch manager, said.
Old National Bank is just one of many sponsors helping making the event happen.
“Every business we approached was eager and willing to help and donate,” Avon Assistant Police Chief Brian Nugent said.
For some it’s an opportunity to connect with the community, but for others it hits close to home. Less than a month ago the Avon Citizens Bank was targeted by a robber.
“It’s important for us to be involved too, because they support us all the time,” Rachel Barnhart, Citizens Bank branch manager, said. “Where we can truly give is with manpower and us being able to actually participate in the event and help rather than dollars and cents.”
So often, it’s after a crime or even during one that a person meets an officer, but National Night Out events allow police to meet children and adults in a relaxed environment.
“To see the children of our community be with the Avon Police Department and have that bond develop. We need that. We need to heal here in country and the Avon Police Department sure does a lot toward getting that,” Kathy Spangle, Old National Bank branch manager, said.
“We just want to do whatever we can to eliminate those barriers and establish that community and let people know that we’re here to help them,” Nugent said.
The Old National Bank tellers plan to become snow cone makers, while Lowe’s employees hand out hundreds of blue light bulbs Tuesday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“We only have 500 light bulbs so the first 500 will get the light bulbs,” Lowe’s manager John Sorg said.
Police will be grilling hot dogs as a free gift for those who come to the event.
One of the biggest challenges in Avon has been finding a spot big enough to hold an event of this size, so this year Lowe’s is offering their parking lot on Highway 36 near Dan Jones.
“This is all about community involvement. People contributing in one form or fashion and wanting to get out of their offices, get out of their homes, and get out and meet people,” Nugent said.
“The kids love it. They have fun. They just line up for the games and free hot dog and the food. It’s amazing,” Darryl Grimes, Walmart store manager, said.
Indiana State Police and the Avon Fire Department will be at Avon’s National Night Out. You’ll also be able to see WISH-TV pilot Keith McCutchen and Chopper 8 on the ground.