WPPD hosts first National Night Out

 Sherell Drake, event coordinator, receives a donation from Bettye Swift of the Progressive Foundation of Clay County and Captain Virginia Rick receives a donation from State Representative Karl Gibbs for the upcoming National Night Out, 6 - 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Mossy Oak pavilion.
Staff Writer

The West Point Police Department is constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the community. So, those who protect and serve in West Point, are sponsoring the first "National Night Out" from 6- 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Mossy Oak Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public.

Bettye Swift, of the Progressive Foundation of Clay County and State Representative Karl Gibbs both made donations to National Night Out.

"Other cities have been doing this since 1984," WPPD Captain Virginia Rich said. "I was surprised to find out that West Point has never had a 'Night Out."

Rich worked to find out how to go about doing what she could to have "Night Out" in West Point. She and Chief Avery Cook have been talking about a "Night Out" as other communities have been having them for a long time. It offers an opportunity for children and adults to get to know the people behind the badge.

Sherell Drake volunteered to be the event coordinator.

"We will have information stations set up," Drake said. "We have invited a lot of businesses to set up and provide information. Community Counseling Services, GTech, JT Jumpers, Cricket Wireless and the Golden Triangle Boys and Girls Club, are a few who will be there. Nadia Colom was very eager to be a part of 'Night Out."

Many teachers are volunteering their time to help and according to Drake, all of the schools in the West Point Consolidated School District have agreed to hand out information to the students. Oak Hill Academy and Hebron have been contacted but have not replied by press time.

"We've been meeting to coordinate this event since June 6," Drake said. "We have reached out to all the schools. We don't want anyone to be left out."

Rich said it often breaks her hear to see children who are afraid of the police.

"They need to know we are here to help them," Rich said. "We hope that events like this one will help children see that those of us in uniform are their friend and would help them all we can if they are in trouble."

National Night Out will have free food, games, school supplies and valuable information.

"We will be working with our local insurance companies on something new," Rich said. "Property DNA, is a new system database to help locate stolen items. We recover a lot of stolen property and then have no way to return it to its owner. Property DNA will give us and the public a tool for helping stolen items be identified. I want everyone to come and learn more about this free service. I am really excited about it."

For more information or to volunteer for National Night Out, contact Volunteer Coordinator Sherell Drake.