An event meant to bring the community and law enforcement closer together is set for Tuesday at Van Buren High School.
Crawford County National Night Out, a campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, will be held in the VBHS east parking lot from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Participating will be about 40 local businesses and organizations, said Christy Jones with Crawford County Search and Rescue. Jones is organizing this year’s event.
“What we want is for the people of the community to get together with the police, fire departments and emergency personnel and get to know each other and come together,” Jones said.
Jones said the event will be like a “big block party.” Free hot dogs, sno cones, popcorn and drinks will be available.
Kids activities will include face painting and bounce-arounds, and there will be handouts of coloring books, stickers and candy, Jones said.
While the event started with a focus on building relationships between community residents and law enforcement officers, it expanded to involve all emergency responders, Jones said.
Every local police department, along with the Mountainburg K9 unit and sheriff’s department, will be taking part, as well as area fire departments, emergency medical services, CCSR, state and federal police, military and military police, U.S. Marshals Service and Drug Enforcement Agency.
A number of local organizations also will have informational booths and safety tips for parents and children.
Several local animal shelters will be promoting their services and recruiting volunteers.
“Maybe we can get them some help, as well, and get some animals adopted,” Jones said.
National Night Out was introduced in 1984 by Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch. Events similar to the one in Crawford County are being held nationwide.
Though the event is kicking off in Van Buren, it’s meant to be a county event, Jones said. Next year’s event will be hosted in Alma, she said.
“We’re going to rotate it around the county,” Jones said.