The city of Waxahachie is preparing for a night filled with valuable information, live entertainment and much socializing in support of National Night Out.

In its 24th year nationally, the event will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 7, around the Ellis County Courthouse on Rogers, College, Jackson and Franklin streets with a theme of “Take It Back to the Neighborhoods.”

Waxahachie Police Department community services officer Wess Winn credits former community services officer Nathan Bickerstaff with initiating the event locally.

“This event has been going on here for at least 10 years or longer,” Winn said. “Nathan was the community services officer here for many years and he heard about the event being nationwide and brought it back to Waxahachie. This event is pushed through community service and is designed to be in the neighborhood.”

National Night Out is designed to generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs while strengthening neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

“This event is to educate others of heightened crime and other awareness in the neighborhood and we plan to do that by getting out in the community and meeting our neighbors,” Winn said. “All the neighborhood watch groups are designed to bring the neighborhood together so this creates a sense of unity in the community. Through neighborhood watch groups, residents learn what to look out for and call in on.”

Several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will be on hand to meet and greet people.

“There will be booths set up to provide information to those who are interested in learning about crime prevention,” Winn said, noting that there will be a Bat, Fire and Safety booth, a Lo Jack booth, a Rest Assured Senior Care booth, an American Red Cross booth, a Salvation Army booth, a Search One booth and banks’ booths set up.

“Some of the information provided will pertain to identity theft, vehicle protection, HEAT (Help End Auto Theft), fire safety and prevention, and much more,” he said. “This would just be a good time to get out and meet federal, state and local law enforcement officers. All branches of the military will also be there.”

The event also will provide fun and games to entertain the whole family with free food, door prizes, live entertainment and children’s activities.

Some of the food will be provided by CiCi’s Pizza, Johnny Carino’s, Domino’s Pizza, Rodney Dickerson, Chick-Fil-A and other restaurants.

The Elmo Blue band will provide the live entertainment, with the children’s entertainment including a clown, Mic Mac Teaching for Dogs, inflatables, bounce houses, TNT Entertainment and others.

“We usually experience a large crowd and this year, we’re expecting to have around 1,000 people show up,” Winn said. “After all, everything is free - the information, the food and the entertainment.”

National Night Out is held nationally the first Tuesday in August but the Texas Crime Prevention Association is making plans to create a Texas Night Out in October, which will have the same goal as the National Night Out event, just not the hot weather.

“The plans are not finalized with this Texas Night Out event, however, some cities are doing it now but we’re not,” Winn said.

Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved residents, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials in more than 10,000 communities representing all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. More than 34 million people participated in NNO 2006.

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