Juneau partakes in National Night Out festivities

Police say about 10 neighborhoods in Juneau and Douglas hosted block parties Tuesday night and participated in this year’s National Night Out celebration.

Approximately 10 to 50 people showed up at each of the parties — from Waterside and North Douglas to Point Lena Loop Road — and mingled with their neighbors and first-responders from the police and fire departments and the Alaska National Guard.

Juneau Police Department Sgt. Scott Erickson said National Night Out is an annual event held to highlight crime and drug prevention awareness and to foster community spirit and police-community involvement.

Erickson said the department has participated in the event for the past four or five years. Officers showed off their patrol vehicles to the public, and McGruff the Crime Dog even made a special appearance, Erickson noted.

“It’s always successful when we get to meet with the public,” Erickson said. “Just meet with people and talk and not be there just because we’re called.”

Capital City Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Etheridge said 17 firefighters turned out for the event this year, and brought along fire engines and trucks. The National Guard brought along a Humvee, which garnered much attention.

National Night Out, dubbed ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime’, is sponsored by a national nonprofit crime prevention group called the National Association of Town Watch. It formed National Night Out in 1984.

More than 15,000 communities across the U.S. and Canada were expected to take part in the event this year, according to the group’s website.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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