by Dennis Dalman
National Night out in Sartell was “another great success,” said Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes in a memo to the city council.
Twenty-eight neighborhoods in Sartell hosted various kinds of get-togethers for the national annual event, which took place Aug. 7.
Hughes thanked the Sartell Fire Department for participating as well as the Sartell Public Works Department, which set up barriers to close off some residential streets for activities hosted by neighborhood residents.
The purpose of National Night Out is to give people a chance to know one another and to learn about neighborhood safety measures with knowledge presented by police, firefighters and other emergency personnel. Many Sartell neighborhoods had cookout get-togethers that evening.
Hughes credited former city-council member Sandra Cordie for her efforts to popularize National Night Out years ago, and it has grown in popularity ever since that time – about 10 years ago.
Council member Ryan Fitzthum agreed with Hughes’ comments. He said National Night Out was not only a lot of fun but that it is a great way for residents, police, firefighters and other city employees to interact and share concerns.
The annual National Night Out began in 1984 when it was sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in North America. In its first years, it mainly involved people turning on their porch lights and sitting in front of their homes. Since then, it grew in purpose to feature cookouts, games for children, formation of Neighborhood Watch groups and guest speakers, especially police officers and sheriff deputies. Currently, an estimated 38 million neighbors participate in the event in more than 16,000 towns, cities and townships across the nation.