Arlington Co. police aim to build community relations on Night Out

Members of the fire department join in as part of the National Night Out festivities.

Members of the community spoke with Arlington police Chief Charles “Andy” Penn as part of National Night Out festivities.

Residents were allowed to pet a yellow Lab K-9 as well as talk to an Arlington County police officer.

Along with meeting first responders, the National Night Out festivities in Arlington County, Virginia, featured games and food.

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Across the nation and throughout the region, neighbors and police mingled Tuesday night in the National Night Out — an annual effort to fight crime by building relationships between communities and police.

In Drew Park, nestled in Arlington County, Virginia’s historic Green Valley neighborhood, a DJ played music and children petted a yellow Lab K-9, while their parents huddled together with police officers including Chief Charles “Andy” Penn.

“I value these conversations to learn from the community … I think the opportunity for people to get together, have conversations and build relationships is incredibly important for trust and, in the long term, it’s important for public safety,” said Penn, a nearly 30-year veteran of the Arlington County Police Department named to the top post in June.

National Night Out began decades ago as a way for people to begin taking back their neighborhoods one summer night each year, designated the first Tuesday in August.

Since then, National Night Out has become a night for locals and police to get together so residents can tell police their public safety concerns and police can share information about their crime-fighting strategies and resources.

Throughout the nation, nights out often include block parties, cookouts and parades.

The gathering in Drew Park was decorated with balloons and included a food truck selling fried Whiting fish and shrimp with fries, and an ice cream truck which drew a steady stream of customers.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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