MIDLOTHIAN — Bringing together neighborhood watch groups, homeowners associations, law enforcement, residents and businesses for a night of family-fueled fun, the Midlothian Police Department is hosting its National Night out on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“National Night Out is an event to get the community working together and to get to know your neighbors,” began Curtis “Scott” Hughes, Midlothian Police Department’s Crime Prevention Officer and organizer of the event.

“Here in Midlothian we still have that ‘small town feel’ but our communities are getting larger, and less and fewer people are getting to know each other in their neighborhoods,“ Hughes acknowledged.

“And with this event, we want to bring people together and get to know their neighbors and the police department, because we are apart of the community and have community action through teamwork," he added.

From In-and-Out Burger providing 1,000 meals to Happy Trails Rail's jump houses, games and giveaways, and Midlothian Police and Fire Departments "meet and greet," Hughes goes on to note the details of the festivities planned.

“It’s crazy because I’ve had a lot of people come to me out of the woodwork and wanting to get involved,” Hughes recalled. “We’ll have jump houses at every location, the SPCA is going to teach how being bite-free when approaching a dog, we’ll even have a helicopter landing at one location."

“And we’ll have our MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, the old military armored truck with the six wheels driving around,” he listed, “We’ll also be passing out National Night Out fans, Frisbees, balloons, light-up cop cars, and have information on emergency preparedness and disaster response type of stuff.”

Doubling in neighborhood participation since last year, Hughes notes that there will be 12 locations that include Rosebud, Overlook Estates, Midtowne, Spring Creek, Park Place, Old Town, Crystal Forest, Autumn Run, Texanna Ranch, Midlothian Meadows, Hidden Creek, and Kensington Park North.

“Each neighborhood is bringing people right in that neighborhood or bringing family and friends, or people drive to a different location, or ‘neighborhood hop,’ but our goal is to get the whole community involved,” Hughes encouraged.

“And each neighborhood will be different because some will have cake, desserts, or barbeque and things like that. And for each neighborhood we ask that people go to the closest one and join in the party,” he heartened.

And for those who don’t have a neighborhood to go to?

“The two business locations, Wal-mart and Brookshire’s are there for people who don’t have an event close to their neighborhood and still want to participate,” Hughes confirmed.

Hughes also points out that the event wouldn't be possible without the sponsorship of Methodist Mansfield, Citizens National Bank, ADT, CSI Renovations and Roofing, Higginbotham Brothers, Ring Video Doorbell, Gateway Church of Midlothian, Brookshire’s, Happy Trails Rail, Wal-Mart, Ellis County BBQ, Nextdoor, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Hilco Electric Cooperative Inc., and Target.

“All of our volunteers are amazing, and the community here is willing to volunteer and just loves working with the Police and being community oriented,” Hughes complimented.

What started in 1984 as a response to connect watch groups, civic groups, neighborhoods and law enforcement together, National Night Out’s founder, Matt Peskin, began the campaign to do just that.

According to the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch, the first launch of the campaign involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. However, the event soon grew to a celebration beyond front porch vigils.

Neighborhoods across the nation began to host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much more.

The nonprofit goes on to note that today, 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities across the nation take part in National Night Out, including Midlothian.

“All we ask is that people sign in when they come so that we can validate that this is how many people showed up,” Hughes mentioned. “And with that said, last year we, Midlothian, scored 32 out of the United States, and Texas as a state scored number one.”

"So I’d love to get number one this year for our community, but I’d be happy to be in the top ten,” he chuckled.

As Tuesday nears, Hughes invites the community to fellowship with your neighbor and get to know those who protect and serve every day.

“It’s all about crime prevention and safety,” Hughes recognized. “Putting unity within the community is really the overall idea. And National Night Out really goes hand-in-hand with the Midlothian community.”

“And we want to have the community work as a team, and not just the idea of ‘We’re the Police, and they’re the community,’ but we’re all one community and we work together. So we hope everyone can come out and have a good time,” he concluded.

Midlothian’s Night Out is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. For those without a neighborhood to attend, residences can at either attend Walmart’s party on 400 U.S. 67 Frontage Road, or Brookshire’s bash on 1400 E Main St. For more information, visit midlothian.tx.us/182/National-Night-Out, click National Night Out 2017, or call (972)-775-3333.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450