Children played and hot dogs sizzled Tuesday night as neighbors celebrated National Night Out with 65 block parties throughout Redmond.
Redmond’s neighborhoods joined the combined effort across the country to prevent crime in the community and simply spend time being neighborly.
“NNO is about stepping out of our homes, learning more about those around us and building a safe place together,” said Julie Beard, community engagement sergeant for the Redmond Police Department.
Redmond police and firefighters are partners of the National Night Out and toured every registered block party. All hands were on deck as the 90 RPD officers split into groups and visited two or three parties each, engaging with neighbors and answering questions about local crime or police operation.
“We work for a very supportive community,” said Tim Gately, an operations lieutenant for RPD. “It’s amazing that we have 65 groups that feel safe enough to celebrate tonight … It’s good to know your neighbors and feel safe in your community.”
Gately has been with Redmond police since 2004 and was previously a state trooper. He toured three block parties and chatted with community members as if they were old friends, handing out small gifts to kids and letting them turn on the lights of his patrol car.
“Most neighbors are pretty well connected to what’s going on in their community,” Gately said. “These events are great because [we] get to spend time with people before they need us in an emergency … We love having these outreach opportunities.”
As he toured block parties, Gately mentioned the importance of community policing. Many police officers patrol such a wide area, that they can’t tell if something is out of place.
“There are a billion sets of eyes and ears out there, and they know what’s right or wrong,” Gately said. “Nosy neighbors are the best reporters of crime because they know if a vehicle or person on the street isn’t supposed to be [there] … If you see something, say something.”
Redmond’s National Night Out block parties differ from some surrounding cities that organize one big celebration for everyone in the community.
“But the whole idea behind the night out is to meet your neighbors and to feel safe in your own neighborhood,” Gately said.
The locals who Gately visited added that they enjoy having their own block party instead of one big party for the city.
“We get to see more of the people we live next to and wave at every day,” said Brian East.
“And you feel special when police and firefighters come out to visit,” added Deborah East with a laugh. “I’d still go [to a big party], but this is way more neighborly I think.”