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Uniting communities and law enforcement

August 2, 2018

 A sheriff's deputy and community members pose for a picture

There’s something to be said for personal relationships, no matter what field you’re in. Getting to know and trust people makes it easier to do your job in everything from sales to healthcare to education. They also make it easier just to live your life – like getting to know your neighbors and the people who protect them.

The founders of Night to Unite know this, which is why they created a night to help celebrate and strengthen neighborhood and community partnerships, particularly between residents and their local law enforcement. Also known as National Night Out, this event is celebrated on the first Tuesday in August every year. Neighbors often block of parts of streets, bring food, play music and games, and generally get to know each other.

The get-togethers are also visited by local law enforcement – in fact, Minnesota Night to Unite is sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association (MCPA), AAA of Minnesota/Iowa, and local law enforcement agencies. And they’re hyper-local; it’s not as if you can find a published list of parties and choose which one you want to attend. If there’s one in your neighborhood, your neighbors will let you know, and you can stop by and get to know them. Even planning the event itself strengthens the neighborhood. Working and socializing together builds bonds that will serve your community all year long.

In 2017, 66 Minnesota law enforcement agencies registered a Night to Unite event with the MCPA, and 96 organized National Night Out events. In Minneapolis alone, over 1,500 separate events were registered, making Minneapolis the top city in the nation for these neighborhood gatherings.

If you would like to get to know your neighbors, meet the law enforcement officers who serve your community, and have a fun night out, it’s not too early to start planning for next summer. You can start the process by reaching out to your local law enforcement agency. Then you can start building bonds that will strengthen your community year-round.