It’s party time for National Night Out

Greencastle police officer TJ Anderson is organizing Greencastle’s second National Night Out. Each of the four corners of town are invited to host a party in July, and the community will gather Aug. 2 for a combined party. The packets will be distributed to residents volunteering to plan events for their neighborhoods.

As an encore, Greencastle police officer TJ Anderson has another idea for National Night Out. It may be hard to beat last year’s event, which earned Greencastle Rookie of the Year in Pennsylvania for its successful first time participation in the national program.

In 2010 the police department sponsored a drug take back and scavenger hunt for children. In 2011 Anderson invites residents in the four quadrants of Greencastle to host separate neighborhood parties in July. The corner of town that holds the best event will be recognized from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 2, when the entire community gathers at Jerome R. King Playground for a huge get-together. That evening the police department has scheduled music, food, games, a dunking booth and the Rescue Hose Company to be on hand to promote a police-community partnership.

Four parties

Anderson envisions volunteers from each of the four quadrants stepping up to plan a neighborhood party for the people that live nearest them, with the town divided into sections by Baltimore Street and Carlisle Street. In line with the NNO goals, the parties would help create community spirit and give residents an opportunity to meet each other and share ideas on making Greencastle a safe place to live.

She and police department secretary Nicole Bowser have already laid out the framework for the parties to help the volunteers get started. They have four packets of information ready to be picked up.

“Each quadrant has the potential for some really fun stuff,” said Anderson. “They can throw a pool party, or hold a potluck or a picnic.”

The event can be indoors or outdoors, day or night, educational in nature, or a relaxed time for sharing ideas. A police officer will attend each party to discuss requested topics or just to mingle with the residents. If a host wants a speaker from another law enforcement agency, Anderson will do her best to get a representative.

No volunteer will have to go it alone. Anderson and Bowser will keep in touch, offer suggestions as needed, and help get the word out to the neighbors when the date is set.

“This is my opportunity to get into the community and get to know the people and hear how we (the police) are doing,” said Anderson.

Anyone interested in planning a party for their quadrant may stop in at the police station or call 597-9506.

NNO started 28 years ago and is designed to increase crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support and participation in local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and relationships with the police; and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.