The City of Martinsburg’s National Night Out Celebration, which took place at War Memorial Park on Tuesday, August 2 is part of a national event aimed at increasing community and partnerships with police departments and the communities they serve. The event currently takes place in over 16,000 communities in the United States, US territories and Canada.

Martinsburg’s first National Night Out offered hot dogs and hamburgers prepared by Captain Kevin Miller along with other officers and community members.  Also on hand was the Martinsburg Fire Department (for which I was thankful when I saw the flames from the grill), to allow the community to see the inside of a firetruck and an ambulance.  Also present were representatives from various community organizations such as the United Way and the Police and Fire Explorers Post, and a DJ supplied a festive atmosphere complete with music. Because the venue was War Memorial Park, attendees were also invited to enjoy swimming and miniature golf, free of charge.

The most striking aspects of the event, to me, were the wide diversity of attendees in respect to race and age. Often we see the same people at social events, and while devotion to community engagement is certainly admirable, it was nice to interact and engage with some new faces. The Police Department was clearly committed to community relations, as they were present, in uniform, engaging with all walks of life while dancing, laughing, cooking, playing with children, or just having open dialogue. Chief Richards took time to walk among the crowd, welcoming people and introducing himself simply as Maury.

Please share with us what aspects you found most enjoyable or striking, and drop some ideas for future community building events.

One Response

  1. MegJ

    So nice to see this. As a fairly new resident of Martinsburg, I’ve wondered at the relative lack of diversity in downtown events. I’ve also wondered why my interactions with the police have, on the whole, been less than pleasant. I’m a mature white woman, hardly a threat to anyone, but the officers I’ve encountered have almost always been cold, bordering on rude. Kudos to the new chief for his efforts.

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