The annual opportunity for residents in Melissa neighborhoods to get to know one another in a relaxed setting, share a burger or hot dog and meet members of the Melissa Police and Fire Departments is set for the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 1.
“Our purpose is to encourage neighbors who live side-by-side to get to know each other, trust each other and look out for each other,” says Police Officer Joseph Collins, the department’s Crime Prevention Officer and co-coordinator of the City’s National Night Out. “Police and Fire personnel along with some elected officials will go from location to location that evening, visiting those block parties that we have been made aware of.”
National Night Out (NNO) is a chance for people to lock their doors, turn on their lights and spend an evening outdoors, enjoying each other’s company and holding block parties, cookouts, and outdoor games.
The evening’s festivities will be attended by officials of the City of Melissa, the Melissa Police Department, and the Melissa Fire Department.
NNO block parties are designed to build rapport between citizens and public safety personnel, improve and deepen trust, allow for social interaction within neighborhoods and strengthen confidence in the capabilities of the City’s public safety network.
“This is the best way to meet your neighbors and interact with police and fire personnel,” said Fire Captain Jake Leonard, co-coordinator of the NNO program. “What we want to avoid is people having to meet neighbors and first responders during an emergency. It’s much better for everyone to meet during a block party.”
Individuals, neighbors or neighborhood associations host these parties and alert the City of the time and location by sending an email message to either of the co-coordinators. The City can assist with some materials and technical assistance and will schedule visits from public safety personnel. Officers and firefighters will arrive, mix with local residents, answer questions, provide advice and distribute contact information. First responders will be visiting registered block parties between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. that evening.