By Linda Looney-Bond
Law-enforcement and emergency-management agencies in Clayton County, will proudly show their softer, more caring sides Tuesday, Aug. 4, as they, like their counterparts across the country, observe National Night Out -- a time of connecting with local communities and strengthening community ties.
The event is a partnership between the agencies and Target stores in the communities the agencies serve nationwide, according to Jackie Wren, assets protection leader for the Morrow Target store, which is located at 1940 Mt. Zion Rd. "It's a nationwide event that law enforcement holds to meet with their community, to form a partnership with the community to fight crime," said Wren.
Tuesday's activities will mark the 26th year of the event. The event in Clayton, which, is -- of course -- free and open to the public, will take place in the parking lot of the Morrow Target store, from 6 p.m., to 8:30 p.m.
Included in the festvities will be food, giveaways, safety advice, demonstrations, and other activities. "For the kids, we'll have face painting and activity sheets," she said. "We'll also have hot dogs, soda and other snacks. Chik-Fil-A is going to provide coupons and gifts that they're going to raffle off."
"It's a great program, and we're happy to be participating in it," said Morrow Police Chief Jeff Baker. "It's more or less about crime awarenees," he said. "It lets people know what some of our servieces are. It lets the community know we're here, and gets the communities together to show some cohesiveness and support for each other, and that we're all working toward the same thing."
Baker said the Morrow Police Department will have several displays at the event, and will distribute crime-safety information. "We'll have child-identity kits for parents, so they can take a DNA sample of their child, like a hair strand, and fingerprints. They keep the kit with them, so they've got that infomation - things we would need, if ever an emergency were to arise," he said.
The Clayton County Police mobile command unit, and a police helicopter, are also expected to be on hand, according to Officer Kevin Hughes, a spokesperson for the Clayton County Police Department.
In addition, the Clayton County Sheriff's Office, as well as the Morrow and Clayton County fire departments are scheduled to participate, according to Wren.
National Night Out will also be observed in Henry County, although, the Henry County event will take place Tuesday, Sept. 8, according to Henry County Police Officer Jason Duffey.
"We've opted to do it in September, because ... it's a bit cooler," said Duffey.
The Sept. 8 event will take place from 6 p.m., to 8:30 p.m., at the Target store located at 1850 Jonesboro Rd., in McDonough, according to Duffey.
"We're going to have a couple helicopters, and every law-enforcement agency in the county," he said.
The Henry County event is a joint effort of the Henry County Police Department and the Henry County Sheriff's Office, Duffey said.
"We're going to have a live band - a local Christian band," said Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Carl Maddox. "We'll have the military - Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines," Maddox said.
"We'll also have free food -Truett's Grill, CiCi's pizza, Longhorn Steakhouse, and even Kroger will be out there as food sponsors," he said.