On Tuesday Knightdale – along with municipalities across the U.S. – celebrated National Night Out, an annual safety event designed to bring communities together and familiarize them, children in particular, with law enforcement and emergency service agencies.
Knightdale teams up with Target, using part of the store’s parking lot and Target volunteers to help run the event.
Jenny Richardson, Knightdale Police’s administrative assistant, did most of Knightdale’s planning and said Target is a big sponsor of the department.
With the store’s help, Knightdale only had to pay for a dunk tank and the employees who took their personal time to be attend the event.
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Knightdale police Chief Jason Godwin said the event can lead to feedback on key issues.
“(National Night Out) allows the police to learn what some resident concerns are,” he said. “(There are) many people who may not think it warrants a call or visit, (but) it allows us to get some information that we probably wouldn’t get until an issue got to be bigger.”
Godwin said usually that just means traffic issues, like areas where there is dangerous speeding or other driving practices.
The event also can boost efforts to become accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, though it is not a requirement for earning the certification.
Knightdale is working to join the 34 North Carolina law enforcement agencies with CALEA accreditation out of more than 500 agencies in the state.
The National Night Out event also allows neighboring towns to team up.
Wendell police came to Knightdale’s event Tuesday night to provide the hallmark ‘drunk goggles,’ which allow residents to drive a golf cart on a monitored course while wearing goggles that simulate being intoxicated.
Wendell police Chief Bill Carter said his officers go to Knightdale’s event because it’s well-established.
Wendell has its own version of a National Night Out in the spring, with a Public Safety Day.
Zebulon typically holds its Night Out event in the fall after the weather cools down.