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suggested headline: Meet, greet, police at National Night Out

The Henry County Police Department, along with the Henry County Sheriff's Office, other law enforcement agencies in the county, and members from each branch of the military are hosting the annual National Night Out event.

The event is a crime and drug-prevention gathering that involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials coming together in a show of solidarity against crime.

National Night Out is scheduled for Sept. 6, from 6 p.m., to 8:30 p.m. at Henry Town Center, in McDonough. It will be held in front of the Super Target, located at 1850 Jonesboro Road, in McDonough.

Henry County's National Night Out is free, and families are encourage to come out and meet various law enforcement officers, and get a first-hand look at some of the equipment and vehicles used to keep citizens safe.

"They get to meet and greet their local law enforcement and public safety personnel," said Sgt. Jason Duffey with the Henry County Police Department. "This event is special for the people who serve in public safety, that's why we invite our local businesses and residents because we feel they are the backbone of our community."

Festivities include inflatables for children and give-a-way items from area merchants. There will be demonstrations by canine units, weapon and public-safety displays, as well as a helicopter landing. Soul Sister Sally Band is scheduled to perform.

Free food from area restaurants, including CJ's Hot Dogs, Gezzo's Grille, La Parilla Mexican Restaurant, and Truett's Grill, will be offered.

"People will get to see a different side of law enforcement because most of the time, they see us when we're out answering calls, or we have to take people to jail, but this time is something positive," said Sgt. Duffey. "By doing that, the community feels a little safer because they know who you are."

Now in its 28th year, National Night Out is a community event, which is observed in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases. In 2010, more than 37 million people participated in National Night Out.

For more information contact Captain Jason Duffey at (770) 288-8275, Sergeant Jimmie Spence at (770) 288-7143 or visit www.co.henry.ga.us/police.