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National Night Out Is Aug. 2

FARMVILLE – The Farmville Police Department's second annual National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, August 2, with block parties throughout the town.

Police Chief Doug Mooney expects the 2011 edition of National Night Out to be “at least as good as last year, which is great. There are more people with a better understanding of what it is.

“I think it will be a bigger event,” Chief Mooney told The Herald. “Which is surprising for a community our size.”

The 28-year old National Night Out's goal is to increase crime and drug-prevention awareness, nurture and strengthen partnerships between police and residents, and create support for anti-crime programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Crime Solvers, and Business Watch.

Instead of people wondering what National Night Out is, the police chief said, the question now is where are the block parties.

“More people are jumping on it,” Chief Mooney said. “I think the area really needed it. People were thirsting for it.”

Chief Mooney's instruction to officers last year was “go out and have fun” and the directive won't change in 2011.

Officers make rounds and if they go to a block party where there are a lot of police cars they go to the next place, trying to keep as many police officers rotating in and out so that town residents have a chance to see as many officers as possible.

The goal is to always have at least as few officers at every block party location.

Last year's goal of four block parties was tripled, with 12 events hosted in Farmville neighborhoods on what was one of the very hottest nights of last summer, which made it tough on an undeterred McGruff, the Crime Dog, who also visited all dozen locations.

Chief Mooney brought his National Night Out experience in Chesterfield when he left that police department to accept the position of police chief in Farmville. Police officers and the community get to know one another, he notes, and residents have a chance to ask questions about crime issues in their community, safety procedures and anything else to which the police department might be able to lend a helping hand.

Farmville Police Detective C. W. Moss is again coordinating the event and the block parties for this summer's August 2 National Night Out so far number 13. If anyone wants to add a block party for their neighborhood, by the way, it's not too late. Call Detective Moss at 392-2109.

Detective Moss notes that some localities choose to have one large block party but he prefers Farmville's approach because its neighbors getting together in their neighborhoods and it is easier for police officers and residents to meet and get to know one another, working on developing a more effective relationship in that sort of setting.

There are three new block parties this year and 10 volunteering to repeat from 2010, which Det. Moss takes as a compliment to the event. “That's telling us they definitely enjoyed it, that they got something out of it,” he told The Herald. “I know we definitely got something out of it and I know we'll get something out of it this year too.”

This list of block party locations so far include:

Fourth Avenue Extension, though no definite location and time yet.

The 900 block of Fourth Avenue Extension.

Race Street Baptist Church on Hill Street, from 7-9 p.m.

Parkview Gardens, from 7-11 p.m.

The State Probation Office on Wilcks Lake Island from 6-8 p.m.

High Street, near the town limits, from 7-8:30 p.m.

The 200 block of South Virginia Street, from 7-9 p.m.

Sunchase Apartments, no time yet.

Longwood Avenue, near Wiley Lane, from 7-9 p.m.

Farmridge Apartment, from 4-6 p.m.

Farmville Regional Airport, from 6-8 p.m.

Belmont Circle, no time yet.

The Town Motel, from 6-11 p.m.

At the three Ward D locations-Parkview Gardens, South Virginia Street, and Longwood Avenue-there will be food, drinks, back to school supplies, and music.

While Chief Mooney has praise for Detective Moss and the department's officers for their share in last year's National Night Out success, he told his officers before they headed out last summer that the number of block parties “also speaks highly of the residents of the town…They were ripe for this to happen. If it wasn't for them we'd be driving around for no reason. Nobody would be out.”