Gateway: News

GHPD: This year’s National Night Out event in Gig Harbor will have ‘deeper meaning’

Flowers and cards showing support from community members of all ages are shown at the Gig Harbor Police Department.
Flowers and cards showing support from community members of all ages are shown at the Gig Harbor Police Department.

Connecting communities and raising crime prevention awareness are goals of National Night Out (NNO), a free, nationwide block-party-style event hosted in Gig Harbor by the Gig Harbor Police Department.

Another goal of the event is to connect community members with local first responders, a connection that carries perhaps more weight in the wake of recent police tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Gig Harbor community has been showing its support to local law enforcement with phone calls, cards, food and flowers delivered to the Gig Harbor Police Department, said Chief Kelly Busey.

“We’ve just had this unbelievable outpouring from the community,” Busey said. “It’s been over the top, just crazy good.”

NNO is a free event that provides an opportunity for community members to engage with local law enforcement, fire departments and other public services. The Gig Harbor Police Department has hosted NNO since 2010, and the 2015 event ranked ninth nationally within the 5,000 to 15,000 population category.

Community Service Officer Adam Blodgett said this year’s NNO has grown even compared to last year’s event, with more sponsors and local businesses eager to participate.

“This year we’re really going above and beyond,” Blodgett said. “Our area is just growing so much ... this year we’re recognizing youth sports or individual sports or citizens helping out with youth sports.”

The theme of this year’s NNO is “Teaming Up Against Crime,” and will offer community awards to those individuals who have contributed to the community. The event will feature live music from Afton Prater featuring local rapper Smiley-D and local band Cannibal Hamster, along with food and events for the whole family.

Also new this year is the Beast Bus and a guest appearance from Olympic medalist Amanda Beard.

Joining the festivities will be representatives from the U.S. military, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One, Pierce County Sheriff, Washington State Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and the Gig Harbor Police Department.

Making a special appearance is the Gig Harbor Police Department’s newest, and youngest, member, Chief for a Day Violet Spataro, who will assist with the festivities.

“I think this National Night Out is especially important,” Blodgett said. “I think (it) will set the stage for community support and outreach.”

Both Blodgett and Lt. Fred Douglas have seen the outpouring of community support and engagement from the Gig Harbor community in the past several weeks.

“I think National Night Out will have a different meaning this year,” Douglas said. “I think it’ll have a deeper meaning with all the police tragedies.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

National Night Out

When: National Night Out will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, located at 3510 Grandview Street.

Info: For more information, contact the Gig Harbor Police Department at 253-851-2236.