‘Night Out’ offers safety tips, fun
| By Carley Dangona
AGAWAM – On Aug. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., the town will host its second annual celebration honoring National Night Out at the athletic fields of Agawam High School (AHS), 760 Cooper St.
The goal is to raise safety awareness, but most importantly to build the bond between the Police Department and the community it serves. In the event of inclement weather, the festivities will be moved indoors. The event is free and open to the public.
New to this year’s event are a child seat installation demonstration and a free, secure document shredding. Other activities include Jaws of Life and K-9 demonstrations, a dance presentation, face painting and a performance by Ray of Elvis. Free food will be served.
“Lately, everybody wants to say we’re just out there arresting people,” AHS School Resource Office Robert Burke said, referencing the viral videos currently circulating the Internet as “isolated incidents.”
Burke continued, “We’re trying our best to make it an annual event. We want to make it a community event to get people out and about. It’s a good event for the family.”
He added, “We want people to approach us and not be afraid to do so.”
According to Burke, the goal of National Night Out is to promote crime and drug prevention awareness, to garner support for local anti-crime agencies, to strengthen the relationship between the Police Department and the residents and to let criminals know the community is looking out for its well-being.
“Agawam is a great town with a lot of resources,” Burke said. The Agawam Police Department is sponsoring the Night Out. Representatives from the Agawam Fire Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Marshals Office, various branches of the military and others will be present.
“Many businesses, people and organizations have donated their time, resources and money to support the effort,” he said.
Burke stated that the Night Out is completely supported by donations. For example, the Agawam Lions Club is donating and serving the food. All officers participating in the event are volunteering their time.
A bicycle safety program will also be available to educate residents.
There will also be a photo booth for parents to create an ID for each child. Many vendors will be on hand to discuss home security and animal safety as well.