Annual National Night Out on Tuesday

MARTINEZ, Calif. – National Night Out is a free, annual gathering of friends and neighbors to share food, fun and conversation with police officers in neighborhoods of Martinez, Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at five locations.

The idea is to have a personal conversation with local officers and establish neighborhood camaraderie to make Martinez a safer, strengthen connections among people who live there. Kids love to see the police cars, all of the safety equipment (maybe a fire engine), usually there are fun things kids to do, such as face painting. If they are not on duty the department’s two canine officers will visit the various locations.

Food, entertainment, and information on safety strategies and emergency preparedness are expected at all of the neighborhood parties, and each neighborhood area gathering is sponsored by a different business or group. Below is a sample of one location. Others are at the Senior Center at 818 Green Street, Main Street Plaza at 649 Main Street, Emerson Arms Apartment at 326 Ward Street BBQ and vendors, Les Schwab at Alhambra Avenue (K-9 demo, off-road motorcycles, car show music children’s pay and crafts and food), John Muir Home BBQ, Muir Oaks at 4816 John Muir Road, Diablo View Neighborhood Tot Lot, Shadowbrook Homes (Hidden Creek – ice cream social), and check the City of Martinez website for more that may have been listed subsequent to publication.

The Alhambra Christmas Tree Farm at 2647 Reliez Valley Road

Bring a food donation for the Food Bank of Contra Costa-Solano or a cash donation and receive a raffle ticket to the prize raffle at 7:30 p.m.

Several first responders will be at the event, including Martinez Police Department, Contra Costa Fire Protection District, American Medical Response, East Bay Parks Regional Police, the California Highway Patrol, and the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff.

­– Dance to The Eagles music by the Midnight Flyer Band

– Steel Smokin’ BBQ food truck

– Ice cream treats from local Boy Scouts

– Safety demonstrations from local law enforcement agencies

– CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) disaster preparedness information

– Child ID program information

– Displays from the local fire department and other emergency first-responders

– Face painting fun, and an animal petting zoo

At the downtown event sponsored by the Shell Refinery, organizers said there will be live music from local Martinez Underground Band

– Kids arts and crafts

– Sidewalk Chalk at the Plaza

– Board games, hula hoops, Jenga and corn hole.

– Downtown restaurants and shops will be open and ready with delicious food, drinks and unique shopping finds.

National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event.

Sgt. Fred Ferrer has been with the Martinez Police Department for over 20 years. When asked what is the most difficult question he has been asked at a National Night Out he said, “There are not a lot of questions. They (the public) are thanking us. They see that we are people too. We choose this profession and are here to help and protect them.”

The event has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada. The “Night” is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch, and other anti-crime efforts.

The introduction of National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” in 1984 began an effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

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