Since 1984, people in neighborhoods all over the country have left their houses, locked up behind them, and spent the first Tuesday evening in August outside with their friends, neighbors and local police officers as part of National Night Out.
Keizer is known as a “city of neighborhoods,” which means cook-outs and block parties were happening all over town, Aug. 2, as Keizer police officers, K-9 units and cadets made the rounds to visit, answer questions, and generally promote community togetherness.
“It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances,” said Keizer Police Lt. Andrew Copeland. “It makes our neighborhoods a safer, more caring place to live.”
More than 29 neighborhoods in Keizer registered for the event. In some areas, the neighbors met at a local park or green space, while in others they simply blocked off parts of the street and made a potluck out of it. Any neighborhood who officially registered with the city prior to the July 29 deadline received traffic cones ahead of time and a visit from at least one officer. Many received several visits from different officers, Aug. 2 depending on the length of their scheduled event.
One of the more popular features each year has been the appearance of “McGruff” the crime dog (which is usually one of the Keizer police cadets dressed up in a costume), but Lt. Trevor Wenning said they decided against having him come out this year due to the heat.
The Andersons have been hosting a party on Chehalis Street since the first National Night Out in 1984.
“We’re one of the smallest neighborhood watches in town,” said John Anderson. “It’s just this cul-de-sac, and we like it that way – we’ve known everyone here for decades.”