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38 million people will be participating, and you can too

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CARTERVILLE, ILLINOIS (WSIL) -- It's an event that 38 million people across the country will be taking part in, and you can too. 

It's called National Night Out, and it's meant to bring together local law enforcement with the community that they serve. 

This will be the 38th year for the event, which started in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is now celebrated from coast to coast.

Locally, 2021 will mark the fourth year that Carterville has participated after wanting to find a way to get to know more residents in town.

Officer Brad Dillard says many people only interact with police after something bad has happened like a car accident or to report a crime. While National Night Out, lets community members see the person behind the badge.

"Our neighborhoods and communities can see that law enforcement officials are just like them," he says. "We're just being out there to help protect them. Let them have safe communities. "

To break the ice, there will be plenty of activities happening:

  • K-9 demonstrations
  • Visit from Air evac helicopter
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Police Department's explosives robot,
  • Kids face painting
  • Bounce houses
  • Balloon animals
  • Music
  • School supplies

This is a free event including free snacks from the hot dog stand, ice cream truck, snow cones and cotton candy.

Dillard believes it's important for kids to be introduced to first responders at an early age and this event is a great way to do it.

"It takes all of us to have a safe community," he adds. "We don't want the kids to be afraid of us. So we work very hard as law enforcement and first responders, actually every day not just National Night Out, to engage with the communities."

National Night Out will be at the James Street Park on Tuesday, August 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m. 

To learn more or find out if town near you is participating, click here.

Brooke Schlyer

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