Police honor NNO volunteers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Suffolk Police Department recently honored several community volunteers for their part in helping make the police/community partnership program &uot;National Night Out&uot; a success in this city. In fact, those volunteers were instrumental in helping attain the &uot;National Night Out National Award.&uot;

Suffolk Police Chief William A. Freeman said the people of Suffolk are some of the best in the world when it comes to volunteer activities, giving of themselves for any task that helps improve the quality of life in the city.

National Night Out is a time set each year in August for friends and neighbors to turn on their outdoor lights, lock their homes, and meet in the streets for an evening of sharing and caring, and strengthening their partnerships with law enforcement.


Email newsletter signup

Suffolk’s first entry into the National Night Out in 2001 brought home the prize, a national award for a city of this size. Then, in August 2002, the city triumphed over the nationwide entries and won for the second consecutive year.

Be assured that Suffolk will again take part in National Night Out and the team of volunteers is expected to grow to an even larger number. Word of the city’s success in bringing neighbors together for food, fun, and festivities is spreading across the community and more people than ever are joining in the events.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, and it generates support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts. The &uot;block party&uot; type events are held across the city in an effort to strengthen neighborhood spirit and the relationship between law enforcement and the neighborhood citizens.

Freeman said these strong partnerships between law enforcement and the neighborhoods send the message to criminals: &uot;We are organized and fighting back.&uot;

Suffolk joined 9,600 communities across the country in this anti-crime initiative, and nationwide more than 31 million people participated in the events.

Many awards were presented to volunteers ranging in ages from seven to 70 by Freeman and Police Major Richard H. Hurd. The Police Command Staff including, Captain Stephanie R. Burch, Captain Larry E. Wilson, and Lieutenant Dean Smith was also on hand for the ceremony, which was followed by a reception. The ceremony took place in City Council Chambers.

Freeman and Lt. Todd Rittenhouse heaped praises and plenty of awards on the volunteers who worked so diligently to make Suffolk’s &uot;National Night Out&uot; a success.

In keeping with the Suffolk Police Department’s Mission Statement, &uot;Law Enforcement Excellence, and Public Service through Partnership with Our Community,&uot; the communities, which participated in the National Night Out, were also honored by the Police Department.

Those communities include Chorey Park, Colander Bishop, Cypress Manor/Parker Riddick, East Suffolk Gardens, Elephant’s Fork, Hoffler Apts., Hollywood/Jericho, Huntersville, Kingsboro Heights, Lake Kennedy, Olde Towne, Orlando, Pughsville, River Creek, Saratoga, Wilson Pines, and Woodlake.

Suffolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Philips Ferguson serves as prosecutor for the city, and he and the Community Outreach Coordinator Diana Klink, came to the awards ceremony for their own special presentation.

Klink’s offering was a video program, which was also aired on the cable access channel for all city residents to view. The video brought laughter and many memories to those volunteers present for the ceremony. It also served to note that plans for the 2003 National Night Out are already under way.

Set for Tuesday, Aug. 5, the 2003 National Night Out will be the 20th Anniversary National Night Out and it is expected to be an all-out party across the city. Ferguson noted that his office, Suffolk Citizen’s Community Services Committee, the Citizens Academy Alumni of Suffolk, local government/city departments, businesses and civic leagues and all the volunteers are working hard toward winning a third national award.

As Ferguson noted, now more than ever, society must focus its efforts on prevention and intervention of crime.

&uot;National Night Out is a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote law enforcement/ community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood involvement,&uot; Ferguson told the assembly. &uot;While one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs, and violence, National Night Out does represent the kind of spirit, energy, and determination that is helping to make our neighborhoods safer places throughout the year.&uot;

Ferguson added that as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city, he sees youth in trouble and those without values and direction on a daily basis.

&uot;By coming together and pledging their commitment during the 19th annual National Night Out, it was clearly evident that many of our youth have high hopes, not only for their future, but also for the future of our community and our nation,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;As exemplified by this award, our community can achieve great things when we all work together to realize our goals.

Plans are underway and the entire city is invited to participate in the &uot;2003 America’s Night Out Against Crime,&uot; and any community group that would like to join in the festivities is invited to contact the Community Services Division of the Suffolk Police Department. Call 923-2355, 923-2358. Leave a message for Sergeant Tim Duncan or Officers John Cooke or Jay Jackson if they are out, and they will return the call.