Crowds flock to National Night Out events across city

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A running joke among city officials is that Suffolk Sheriff E.C. Harris is in charge of the weather for the city’s yearly National Night Out events.

This year, at least, he delivered. 

It was hot, but the rain stayed away for Tuesday’s festivities as thousands flocked to not only enjoy the activities, but also, officials hope, to build relationships with law enforcement, first responders and others on the front lines of taking a bite out of crime.

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Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Narendra Pleas said it was about “bridging gaps,” while Harris noted the event served the purpose of bringing people together.

Those things were happening across the city, as Suffolk Police and first responders and residents were actively engaging with one another in a more relaxed setting than they might have otherwise.

Motorcades of city officials, as well as Rep. Elaine Luria, fanned out to different National Night Out events.

They likely saw events teeming with people, with parking lots at King’s Fork High School, Creekside Elementary’s growing celebration and elsewhere across the city overflowing as people flocked to them. 

More than 100 communities, homeowner’s associations, civic organizations, neighborhoods, churches and business sponsors took part with block parties, cook-outs, and created a festival-like atmosphere.

The National Night Out events officially kicked off at City Hall as Mayor Mike Duman, City Manager Al Moor, Police Chief Al Chandler, Fire Chief Mike Barakey, Western Tidewater Regional Jail Capt. Tanya Blair, interim director of media and communications Jennifer Moore, Pleas, Harris and Luria gave remarks. Silk Police Capt. Eric Crawley gave the invocation. 

For more than 15 years, the city has celebrated National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch Ave co- sponsored locally by Suffolk Police.

The city’s event has placed first in the nation five times in its population category, the last time in 2018.