Police departments prepare for a night out; building strong relationships with the community


'National Night Out' observed the first Tuesday of August, annually

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) —  Several local police officers are getting ready for a night out. National Night Out provides law enforcement an opportunity to enhance police-community partnerships.

This time last year, the pandemic canceled many events like National Night Out. It was also a time when tensions around police were high and protests were taking place nationwide against police brutality.

Fayetteville and Bella Vista Departments tell us these types of community-building events will always be important to foster strong bonds with the citizens they serve.

Sergeant Tony Murphy of the Fayetteville Police Department says they host dozens of community engagement events every year because knowing their neighbors has always been a top priority and that’s the course they want to continue to follow.

Bella Vista, Chief of Police, James Graves says it’s about building trust, creating a space for open dialogue, and it reinforces those strong community relationships.

He adds that it’s also important to interact with the public in a positive setting.

“We love to show you a positive side and to show that most officers are caring. They want to do what’s best, do a good job and give the citizens who depend on us, the service they deserve,” says Graves.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to speak to us in a non-law enforcement capacity. I think it’s important for people to come out and see we have children too, we have worries and concerns and we are people just like them,” said Murphy.

Murphy adds that strong partnerships between residents, community leaders and the police lead to safer neighborhoods.

National Night Out is kind of like a big block party for residents and police officers to hang out and get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, to learn about the police departments and their programs.

Over in Fayetteville, it’s a family event with art workshops, music, food and they will also have a dunk tank, and some VIP’s to be dunked.

Over in Bella Vista, they plan to showcase several elements of the police department including patrol officers and K9 demonstrations, and detectives will have some make-believe crime-solving activities for the kiddos.

“One of our top priorities here at the Fayetteville police department is to strengthen our relationships with our community and I think that national night out definitely helps us to do that,” said Murphy.

“We get the opportunity to really spend a lot of time with our citizens and give them time to talk to us and to learn about their police departments and so we are really excited to have it back on this year,” said Graves.

Here is the info:

Fayetteville PD

  • Wilson Park 5pm – 7pm
  • Food, video game truck, ice cream, face painting, art workshop & more
  • Dunk Tank, dunk machine with some VIP guests to dunk

Bella Vista PD

  • Kingsdale Pavilion outside Riordan Hall
  • 5 pm -8 pm
  • Free food, music, kids fingerprinting, k9 demonstrations, and a bike rodeo.

Both events are taking place outdoors and folks are encouraged to follow COVID-19 safety practices.

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