WILMINGTON/TEWKSBURY — On Aug. 1, Wilmington and Tewksbury police departments will be participating in National Night Out, an event where citizens come together with their law enforcement officers for the chance to connect and have fun in one place.
According to the Tewksbury PD Facebook page, National Night Out expects 37.8 million participants this year across the country, from over 16,000 communities in the U.S. and Canada. The event itself exists to promote crime and drug prevention by encouraging community interaction between citizens and law enforcement.
The Tewksbury NNO holds the theme “give neighborhood crime and drugs a going away party,” this year and every year, starting at 4:30 p.m. at TMHS. Their lineup for the night promises a classic car show, a cookout, music by Jumpin Juba, and lots of games and giveaways, in addition to the crime prevention information.
Helping to provide this town-wide event are Lowell Five, Salem Five, Enterprise Bank, RTN Credit Union, Wamesit Lanes, Tewksbury United Methodist Church, Upper Merrimack Valley Reserve Corps, Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Lowell General Hospital, and the Tewksbury Fire Department, School Department, State Hospital, and Board of Health.
In Wilmington, they’ll get started at 6 p.m. at Rotary Park with bouncy houses, balloons, face painting, tours of the building, a performance from the Irish-American Police Association, a dunk tank, and a helicopter landing.
Wilmington Police Officer Matt Stavro shares that they’re also offering safety demonstrations, in particular a practice crawling through fog, and displaying their vehicles and equipment.
Wilmington’s sponsors for the night include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI Citizens Academy; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Inspections Service; Federal Reserve Police Department; Mass. National Guard; Mass. State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section; Mass. State Police Mounted Unit; Middlesex Sheriff’s Office; and Wilmington Fire Department.
Red Heat Tavern will be providing food for the event. Officer Stavro also mentions that Target is donating water and raffling bikes, and Blink is raffling 25 wi-fi home security cameras.
Stavro said National Night Out and events like it are made possible by a grant for community initiatives from the Cummings Foundation.
“It’ll be our fourth year,” he continued. “Every year it’s gotten a little bigger.”
Connecting more with the community is something that Officer Stavro and the police departments in Wilmington and Tewksbury especially value.
“I like this event a lot because it gives people a chance to talk to us on a personal level,” he said. “The chief’s there, the deputy chief… they can tell us their concerns and learn what exactly we’re doing.”
Even more important is the work that both departments do promoting community engagement as a whole.
“Seeing the crowd, how much fun the kids have, and hearing after the fact what a great time people had — that makes it worth it,” Stavro mentioned.
Wilmington’s National Night Out will conclude with a showing of Zootopia at 8 p.m.