National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event in the United States that has been around since 1984 and falls on the first Tuesday of every August.
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office and Clarksdale Police Department come together annually to put together activities in the Coahoma County Expo Center to help kids make better choices throughout the school year.
Some of the booths at this year’s event on Tuesday night, in addition to the two police departments, included the Office of the District Attorney 11th Circuit Court District Brenda Mitchell, Red River Credit Union, Region One Medical Health, Direct Insurance, Pafford Emergency Medical Services, Urgent & Primary Care of Clarksdale, Circuit Clerk Demetria Jackson, Chancery Clerk Carolyn Parham, Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School and the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
Booths provided gifts, educational information and school supplies for the upcoming academic year.
Coahoma County sheriff Charles Jones said the goal is to educate children and make them aware of local services provided.
“We want to make sure that we bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community,” he said. “That’s basically what we’ve been doing for the last nine years, trying to bridge the gap for law enforcement in the community. It’s showing. You can kind of see some of the changes the last few years in Clarksdale that law enforcement — we’ve been able to reach out to the community.”
Clarksdale police chief Sandra Williams concurred.
“This is my first opportunity to be a part of National Night Out in Clarksdale/Coahoma County,” she said. “The crowd is kind of light. I expected more people to come out and it’s always a good time to visit with the people in the community, build those relationships, definitely for those who are here. We’ve had some good conversations and, hopefully, next year, it will be even more people.”
Both law enforcement leaders agreed it was crucial for the police departments to be working together.
“The Clarksdale Police Department, the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office and all the surrounding municipalities that have police departments, we want to show unity,” Jones said. “Law enforcement, we have to come together. We have to show unity.”
Williams stressed the importance of the community coming together.
“It is a must for the Clarksdale Police Department and the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department to work together collectively to serve the people in the communities,” she said. “We have a lot of different vendors here, a lot of good information for the children. It’s just a great opportunity for the children to get out and visit with the different vendors, pick up some of the items they could use in school, have different conversations with parents about how to have safe neighborhoods.”