Youngsters hang out in Redmond Police Department Capt. Shari Francois’ car during National Night Out on Tuesday. Courtesy of Capt. Shari Francois

National Night Out prompts 61 block parties across Redmond

Tuesday was National Night Out Against Crime, a nationwide event where locals throw block parties and law enforcement and first responders visit neighborhoods to help foster a sense of community.

Redmond Police Department Public Information Officer James Perry said there were 61 parties across the city that first responders attended during the event.

“We use it as the opportunity to get out and engage with the citizens, it’s an opportunity for them to talk with us about the issues they have in the city,” Perry said.

But more importantly, it’s a chance for neighbors to meet each other, he said.

This hopefully fosters a sense of community and ownership that can help reduce crime.

“It’s about the residents more than it is about police officers and firefighters showing up,” he said.

Members of the police and fire departments, the King County Search and Rescue team, emergency management and the city council showed up.

Some of the messages the officials hoped to impress on locals were basic crime prevention strategies, like keeping valuables out of cars to cut down on vehicle prowls.

It’s also an opportunity for local officers to address questions and concerns residents have about politics on a national level.

Politicians have made headlines in recent weeks after encouraging police violence against suspects, with President Trump telling police to rough up suspects.

Sweeping changes in immigration laws proposed by the Trump administration may have also prompted questions.

“It does allow us to talk to the citizens locally, one on one, about those issues, and explain the values that we hold as a police department,” Perry said. “It’s just one more opportunity for all members of the department, from the chief, other members of our command staff, to patrol officers to be out engaging with the community.”

According to the National Night Out website, millions of people participate in communities in all 50 states on the first Tuesday of each August.

The event was started in 1984 by Matt Peskin, founder of the National Association of Town Watch.

Redmond Police Department Sgt. Julie Beard snaps a selfie at a block party.

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