NNO brings community and officers out to party

Published 6:11 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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The celebration across Suffolk Tuesday was difficult to miss with residents and public safety officials at 25 locations with a common goal — making the city a safer, more caring place to live.

The celebration of the 40th annual National Night Out could be found at churches, schools, parks and in neighborhoods Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Beyond the crowds and many smiling faces, it was difficult to miss with aromas similar to those at county fairs filling the air and the sounds of favorite tunes adding to the mix as residents danced and deejays kept the tunes spinning.

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Youngsters had loads of fun with games, Touch a Truck, face painting and the foam machine. Entertainment included the King’s Fork High School Marching Band and the Peanut City Cloggers.

There were plenty of ways to meet those who protect the community as Suffolk Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and Fire and Rescue set up stations where residents has the opportunity to meet up at a time that isn’t a crisis where a crime has been committed or an accident or fire occurred. 

The celebration kicked off at City Hall with the KFHS cheerleaders providing city officials a grand send off as they spread out across the community to meet and enjoy fun with local residents.

During the kickoff, Mayor Michael D. Duman said the city’s annual celebration is not just fun, but important.

“As the mayor of Suffolk, I get to take part in many events throughout the year, but I did not think there was one event that has the significance that National Night Out has in our city,” Duman said. “There’s absolutely no doubt about it, Nno city in Hampton Roads, Virginia or the nation throws a party for National Night Out like we do in Suffolk.”

Chief of Police Alfred S. Chandler Jr. said NNO is a day of significance that makes a statement on keeping Suffolk’s streets safe and crime free.

“We firmly believe that the most potent tool in our fight against crime is the power of community connection,” Chandler said. “It is through our community connections and our collective efforts by fighting crime together, making our streets safer together, building stronger relationships that we will triumph over challenges that come our way. Togetherness is the key that unlocks countless doors.”

One of the biggest events takes place at Kings Fork High School. That’s where NNO Committee Chair and Director of Media and Communications Jennifer Moore moved to after the kickoff.

Moore said she is thankful for Tuesday’s wonderful weather, noting how many neighborhoods across the city were throwing their own party.

“We could not be more proud of our residents and we’re happy that they’re welcoming us to engage and getting to know our law enforcement, public safety officials, first responders,” she said. “This is what national night out is all about, and we’re doing it and it’s working,” she said.

Moore said she hopes NNO will continue building on the unity of citizens and safety officials seen at the event.

“I just hope that they know that Suffolk cares,” she said. “Suffolk Police, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, Sheriff’s Department, Western Tidewater Regional Jail, Commonwealth Attorney, all of our partners. We genuinely care about, not just about our residents, but their well-being.”

Among other officials who took part in the NNO celebrations are City Manager Albert S. Moor II, Fire Chief Michael J. Barakey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Narendra R. Pleas and Sheriff E.C. Harris.