(WKBN) – Since 1984, the first Tuesday in August has been designated as National Night Out, a day that brings law enforcement and the community together. That’s 37 years of block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and in one local community tonight, fireworks.
Several local communities celebrated National Night Out tonight, including Liberty, Austintown, New Middletown and Vienna.
The event provides great opportunities to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
“It’s all about creating relationships and working with one another, you know? We are just like they are and it gives them an opportunity to come and talk to us, see who we are, get to know us,” said Liberty Township Police Chief Toby Meloro.
Liberty had K-9 and drone demonstrations, emergency vehicle displays, a car show, a bounce house and an outdoor movie.
At its parade, attendees were encouraged to decorate their bikes in red, white and blue to support Team USA while riding in the parade.
At Austintown Township Park, they had face paintings, balloons, free gifts for kids, live music, food and visits from the movie Cars’ Lightning McQueen and Mater, along with Castle on a Cloud Entertainment’s Ice Queen and Miss Fashionista.
Reporter Taylor Long: “To have all these kids here and their families to meet Mater, Lightning McQueen — also the heroes here are the law enforcement — tell me about that.”
The Mater Foundation’s William Simmons: “That’s correct. If it wasn’t for them, there would be a lot of sad days and we’re trying to get the police involved with the community.”
On top of seeing Lightning McQueen and Mater, Austintown’s Trista Ciuba and her family also went to support those in blue.
She says events like these help bridge that gap with law enforcement to let kids know that police officers are here to help them.
“It keeps them from being afraid of it. They can see and touch and meet the trucks and the people and the cops and they know that they’re friendly,” Ciuba said.
The celebration in Austintown also collected clothing, personal items, blankets and warm weather gear for Project Care.
A National Night Out event was also held in New Middletown. They topped off the celebration with a fireworks display at dusk. Earlier in the evening, there was a parade and events at Welker Park.
In Vienna, safety forces were out to meet the community. Other local health care and professional organizations were also in attendance.
Police want to remind the community to turn their blue lights on to show support for them.