Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Police preparing for National Night Out festivities

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 7/24/2013

Ottawa’s police chief plans to call in reinforcements Tuesday evening, he said.

So residents can count on seeing a parade of first-responder lights illuminating at least 15 Ottawa neighborhoods during the city’s observance of National Night Out against crime.

Ottawa’s police chief plans to call in reinforcements Tuesday evening, he said.

So residents can count on seeing a parade of first-responder lights illuminating at least 15 Ottawa neighborhoods during the city’s observance of National Night Out against crime.

With 15 neighborhoods signing up to play host to block parties as part of Tuesday’s event, Police Chief Dennis Butler said organizers had to assign staff, city commissioners, firefighters and county participants to attend events so no one would be missed.

From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Ottawa residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors, members of their local governments and first responders, an Ottawa Police Department news release said. The parties are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., the release said.

The number of block parties is up significantly over the handful of parties organized in 2012 during the introductory year of the neighborhood celebrations in Ottawa, city officials said.

“I am extremely pleased with this year’s response and hope we have good weather next week,” Butler said. “My hope is that informal events like this will encourage citizens to interact with public officials in a more positive and relaxed environment while also promoting increased neighborhood cohesiveness.”

Each neighborhood event registered with the city coordinator will receive a visit from the parade of lights — comprised of children’s favorite pieces of emergency equipment with their lights ablaze — as part of the 30th annual national crime and drug prevention event, the news release said.

Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, plans to Tweet from the block parties throughout the evening, Butler said. The police department’s Twitter account is @ottawapd

Weingartner’s Tweets also will be posted on the City of Ottawa’s Facebook page

To register a block party or for more information, email volunteer coordinator Ron Hughes at rhughes@ottawaks.gov

National Night Out is designed to:

• Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.

• Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts.

• Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

• Send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and alert to criminal activity, the release said.

National Night Out is observed in more than 15,000 communities across all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world, with more than 37 million people expected to participate this year, the release said.

Law enforcement officials are celebrating the night against crime a little early this year in Ottawa, because the Aug. 6 date of the national event conflicts with the local DARE camp, city officials said.

Neighborhoods throughout Ottawa are encouraged to host their own special events such as block parties, cookouts, games and youth activities, the news release said. The following is a list of the 15 Ottawa block parties, as well as their organizers, signed up thus far for the event:

• Sunflower Plaza, 701 S. Poplar St., Cindy McCullough.

• 843 S. Sycamore St., Shawn Dickinson, city commissioner.

• 808 E. 16th Terrace, Barbara Netherland.

• 634 S. Oak St., Sharon Geiss.

• 940 S. Cedar St., Jennie Wolzen.

• 1300 block of Redbud Street, Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor.

• 1300 block of Pine Street, Wynndee Lee, city director of planning and codes administration.

• 627 Maple St., Mitchell Corbett.

• 504 Elm St., Gayle Norris.

• 1017 W. Fifth St., Natasha Jenkins.

• 901 W. Fourth St., Keri Butler.

• 900 block of North Birch Street, David Brooks.

• 900 block of North Spruce Street, David Brooks.

• 1722 S. Chestnut St., Jenise Hepner.

• 800 block of South Hickory Street, Rita Nienstedt.

“I think this is a really great event for our community,” Mayor Caylor said.

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