The Martinsville Police Department is encouraging the public to take part in the 36th annual National Night Out on Aug. 6 to take a stand against crime and drugs in their neighborhoods.
The event will be at two locations — First Baptist Church of East Martinsville at 1043 East Church Street and Refuge Temple Holiness Church at 205 Clearview Drive — from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
There will be free food, such as hot dogs, hamburgers and fried fish, as well as sodas and water, said Master Deputy Coretha Gravely of the police department. Attendees also are encouraged to bring a covered dish of their choice.
“Everything is free,” Gravely said.
She described the event as “a family night, good fun, good food to eat, good fellowship. It gives police officers a chance to meet people in the community we serve.
“A lot of times we have such negative contacts when people call us with crime or something bad that happened in the community. But this is a time when we can enjoy each other, fellowship. A lot of times they even tell us about problems happening in their neighborhoods. We can be comfortable with them. They can be comfortable with us.”
Police officers want to have good rapport with the citizens they serve. “We want them to feel they can come and talk with us with confidentiality,” Gravely said.
Communication between the public and police is key in fighting crime, she indicated.
“Criminals have a tendency to linger where they know people won’t call police or people turn their heads,” Gravely said.
Wilson Street Pentecostal Holiness Church, McMabe Memorial Baptist Church, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, St. Paul High Street Baptist Church, Greater Love Ministries and Neighborhood Watch captains are helping with the event.
Gravely encourages people who cannot attend the event to sit on their front porches, lock: their doors and turn their porch lights on in support of the National Night Out effort.
Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.