Countdown begins

Published 10:25 pm Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kick-off: James Dailey, right, and Nat Knight wave to arriving guests at the National Night Out community kick-off in City Council chambers Thursday. The event provided information and planning supplies for the August event.

City kicks off National Night Out

Only two months remain before National Night Out 2011, but the festivities already are in full swing.

Organizers held a community kick-off Thursday evening to showcase last year’s efforts in a video presentation, hand out information and materials and get community leaders excited about this year’s event, set for Aug. 2.

“National Night Out is all about community partnerships,” said Diana Klink, National Night Out coordinator.

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The nationwide event, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, encourages communities to gather outside to present a united front against crime. The event also helps build a strong working relationship between citizens and the public safety officials who protect them.

“National Night Out is a one-night event, but I think we all recognize it’s a partnership we build all year ‘round,” said Capt. Steve Patterson of the Suffolk Police Department.

The city of Suffolk placed third among all localities in its population category in the nation last year, after two consecutive years of placing first.

“We’re looking forward to bringing that first-place trophy back to Suffolk,” Klink said.

The kick-off event also featured Opal McCleod of the Greater Oakland/Chuckatuck Civic League discussing how she planned the community’s successful debut into National Night Out last year.

“Last year, I knew very little about National Night Out,” she said.

While planning the event in only three weeks, McCleod said, she got crash courses in public speaking and community organization that “could not have been duplicated by even our highest educational institutions.”

Communities that participate in National Night Out usually have cookouts, children’s activities, parades and similar activities at a central location, usually a community park or cul-de-sac.

For more information on Suffolk’s National Night Out and how to get involved, visit or call 514-4104.