Several area communities are encouraging people to get out and get to know their neighbors Tuesday, Aug. 1.

In its 34th year, National Night Out promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to help in creating safer living environments.

The program’s purpose is to enhance relationships between neighbors, law enforcement and other first responders while fostering a true sense of community. In addition, it brings police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Local law enforcement personnel and community leaders tout the benefits of National Night Out.

Chief Jason Edmiston of the Hermiston Police Department said the program provides an important opportunity to engage the public in a positive manner. The timing, he said, is especially relevant with some perceptions about law enforcement.

“National Night Out is just one day out of the year where we can try to enhance the existing relationships and partnerships we have,” Edmiston said.

Laurie Nelsen of the Echo Public Library said the event helps in creating a sense of community. Also, she said it assists in building positive relationships with law enforcement and other city leaders.

“If people aren’t afraid of police officers, they would be more willing to contact them if something is needed,” Nelsen said.

Tim Miears, training officer/evidence custodian with Hermiston Police Department, agreed — saying it provides an avenue for the public to connect with first responders.

“People can get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere,” he said.

Joyce Wright, Stanfield Police Department community resource officer, said National Night Out facilitates bringing the community together — creating an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other. When neighbors communicate, she said, it has a direct impact on criminal activity.

“I think it helps immensely with cutting down crimes,” Wright said.

For more about National Night Out, visit https://natw.org. Area community activities include:

In conjunction with city officials, the Hermiston Police Department has coordinated National Night Out activities for 19 years.

The National Night Out treasure hunt is currently underway in Hermiston (see bonus clue and more information on Page 1). In addition to an ice cream social block party held Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. in the neighborhood of the person who finds the golden medallion, block parties are expected to spring up all over town.

Law enforcement, first responders and city officials hope to visit neighborhoods that are having parties. To inform the police department of planned parties, leave a message at 541-667-5112.

In its 11th year of celebrating National Night Out, Echo will host a community event Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at George Park and the Echo Masonic Lodge.

The event includes free hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks. A bicycle rodeo is planned for youths with prizes being awarded to participants. Also, local businesses have donated items to be used as door prizes and raffle drawings. Bingo and other games will provide fun for all ages.

Also, a resident will be recognized as the Neighbor of the Year (nominations accepted through Monday). For more information, call Echo City Hall at 541-376-8411 or Stanfield Police Chief Bryon Zumwalt at 541-449-3245.

After a 13-year hiatus, the Stanfield Police Department is heading up National Night Out festivities Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Bard Park.

Activities include a youth bicycle rodeo (prizes provided) and a drone obstacle race. In addition, a free barbecue features hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks.

The event also includes door prizes and raffle drawings. The evening concludes with free popcorn and an outdoor movie.

Also, one special citizen will receive the Good Neighbor of the Year award (nominations accepted through Monday). For more information, visit www.cityofstanfield.com or call Zumwalt at 541-449-3245.

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