In the face of all 2020 has unwelcomely presented us with - from uncertainty, to division and separation - most community members can agree that community is in great need of encouragement and unity. National Night Out provided many with that.
Tuesday, Oct. 6 served as a light to Kaufman residents for the 11th annual local observance of National Night Out. NNO takes place across the country annually, acting as a national community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnership. Kaufman has been a participant in this movement since 2009, but this year looked quite different. Rather than taking place at one central location as in years past, event organizers brought the event to the people. the Kaufman Police Department, Fire Department, Care Flight, Kaufman Independent School District Police Department, and the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office caravanned to more than a dozen neighborhoods throughout Kaufman County, spreading encouragement, educating residents on crime watch and prevention strategies, and cultivating community among neighbors.
Sharna Ellis, administrative assistant to the Kaufman Chief of Police, organizes the event each year and holds it close to her heart. “These types of events bring us together," Ellis said. "I’m excited that [our officers] get the opportunity to serve the people in this way. That’s why it's important that the officers are in uniform and serving the people. This can make an everlasting impact on a child and what they think about law enforcement as they grow older. That one memory may be the one that makes her wanna be a police officer someday.” She noted that the National Night Out offers coming together and cohesiveness in the face of division and separation; two things we have become all to familiar with in 2020.
Challenges for this year’s event centered around communicating safety. “The biggest challenge was how to have this and [families] feel safe and comfortable,” Ellis said. Careful consideration was given to COVID-19 safety protocol. The response from Kaufman residents was positive, and the event progressed under the new format. Residents from hundreds of homes exchanged friendly interaction with first responders.
The Kaufman Police Department would like to extend a special thanks to Circle K Ranch, Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative, NUMO Manufacturing, and Walmart for sponsoring the event.
National Night Out 2021 is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 5 with the hope of the event being able to return to its roots as a community gathering