PILOT MOUNTAIN — For at least five years, the town of Pilot Mountain has joined other communities around the country in an effort to show criminals that neighborhoods are not going to put up with crime in their area.
This year that tradition will continue as the Pilot Mountain Police Department hosts the 28th annual National Night out.
The gathering will take place Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at East Main and Davis streets near the Squeeze Box restaurant, and will include activities, free food and entertainment.
“It is America’s night out against crime,” said Sgt. R.D. Bingman of the police department, who is coordinating the event. “We are asking citizens and neighbors to show support that they are fighting back the streets and show they are tired of people doing crimes and they support the police departments.
“It sends the message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized in fighting back,” he said.
The Pilot Mountain Police Department is hosting the event, with invitations to participate to Mount Airy, Dobson and Elkin police departments, Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Surry County Animal Control, and area fire departments and rescue squads.
Community Officer Ray Arnder with the Mount Airy Police Department will have a DWI (driving while impaired) pedal car on hand which simulates what it’s like driving while impaired to adults and kids who put on special goggles and attempt to drive through a course.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office will operate a dunking booth, with Sheriff Graham Atkinson scheduled to be in the booth at 7 p.m. Among others taking turns in the booth will be Holly Utt, Pilot Mountain town clerk, and R.J. Bingman, son of Sgt. Bingman.
“The sheriff requests everyone with a good arm to try to dunk him, and Holly Utt says nobody can dunk her,” Sgt. Bingman said.
Bingman said he and Pilot Mountain Police Chief Daryl Bottoms “are working diligently to get the community to come out and join the police departments, fire departments and rescue squads.”
Just Save is a sponsor of the event and is providing free hot dogs, fixings and drinks while they last. Bingman and Bottoms will be cooking the food.
“We really appreciate Just Save,” Bingman said.
At about 6:30 p.m., the Blue Ridge Entertainers will present Dance Mix with Tracie Artim, a senior dance performance for those in attendance.
“We want people in the community to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights and spend time with their neighbors,” Bingman said.
According to www.natw.org, National Night Out is a project of the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs including neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies, state and regional crime prevention associations, businesses, civic groups, and individuals, devoted to safer communities.”
NATW Executive Director Matt Peskin initiated National Night Out with the first event held Aug. 7, 1984, featuring 400 communities in 23 states participating. The website reported that the event “now involves over 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.”
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.