MUNSTER - In a time when there are rising and continued tensions between police officers and the communities they serve, the town of Munster is taking part in a tradition that is designed to bring the two together in a positive way, National Night Out.
James Ghrist, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Crime Prevention Officer for the Munster Police Department, says people of any age can get something out of participating.
"The event is held to promote police and community partnerships through a variety of fun and educational activities for all ages," Ghrist says.
He says in the 16 years he has been a part of National Night Out he has seen many relationships build in the community as a result of the event.
"We've seen a huge increase in the number of residents that are involved, the businesses that set up booths and tables along with community organizations," Ghrist says. "It's a great way for everybody to get to know each other, get to know their neighbors better. I've seen a lot more people get involved with safety programs through our police department and through our town."
Munster has been holding National Night Out for 24 years. Ghrist says it's a great way for town residents to meet their public safety personnel and view the town's police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and safety equipment. There are over 100 crime watch groups currently active in Munster and Ghrist says National Night Out helps inspire people to volunteer to be block captains in the police department's crime watch program. The event is on Tuesday, August 6th, with the main event at the Munster Community Pool. There will be a short parade starting at 4:30 p.m. in the 8600 to 8800 blocks of Columbia Avenue.
There will also be an Indiana Fallen Officers Blood Drive from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the grounds of the National Night Out event. Participants can walk up, call
1 800-red-cross or visit redcrossblood.org and enter a sponsor code MCPOOL to preregister their blood donation time.