By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
National Night Out at the Four Seasons community in Belvidere. [L-R] Standing: State’s Attorney Tricia Smith, Sheriff Dave Ernest, Mayor Mike Chamberlain, Police Chief Shane Woody; Front Row: Comfort Dogs Samson and Kye with DC Matt Wallace, and Comfort Dog Bekah with Officer Tim Blankenship.


The first Tuesday in August has been designated as National Night Out. National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event in the United States.

The event has been held annually since 1984, and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada. National Night Out began simply with neighbors turning on their porch lights and sitting in front of their homes. The first National Night Out involved 2.5 million residents across 400 communities in 23 states. National Night Out in 2016 involved 38 million residents in 16,000 communities across the United States. The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch, and other anti-crime efforts.

In many communities the event has expanded to include, not only the police, but the fire department, EMS, and other organizations as well to provide good-will and inclusiveness among the community, city and county departments, and other service organizations.

In Belvidere, the Four Seasons community began their Night Out event at 6 p.m.

Stephanie Luna, manager of Four Seasons said, “Thank you to all who helped organize this and are helping run it. It’s a great time for residents to come out and socialize and recognize the people who protect the community, such as our police department and fire department. This is the first time we are holding a National Night Out, since last year it was rained out. We are hoping to have at least 300 people here tonight.”

Attending this event were Mayor Mike Chamberlain, Sheriff Dave Ernest, Police Chief Shane Woody, State’s Attorney Tricia Smith, Deputy Chief Matt Wallace, and Officer Tim Blankenship. A Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) called them all to the DJ table to be introduced and say a few words.

Chief Shane Woody began, “As police chief, I can’t be successful without people to count on, such as DC Matt, Officer, and the rest of the police force. And every one of us counts on you.”

State’s Attorney Tricia Smith was next. “We can’t do our job without…

For complete article, pick up the Aug. 22 Belvidere Republican.

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