Pembroke held its first ever National Night Out earlier this week, coming just as summer vacation ends for most of the community. On Tuesday, Aug. 7, hundreds of local residents came out to show their support for the Night Out cause.
Wynn Carney, Pembroke Police Department patrol officer, received a Night Out flyer from the event’s national sponsor, National Association of Town Watch, earlier this year. He decided that it was something important for the community to partake in.
"National Night Out is a chance for the community to get together with the city and show that they’re against crime. We can do this in a number of ways, like with the crime walk," Carney said.
This year marked the 24th National Night Out. The event is a "unique crime and drug prevention event," according to Pembroke’s Night Out pamphlet. The pamphlet, handed out to all attendees, said the event is designed to:
- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
- Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs;
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnership; and
- Send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
The event kicked off at 7 p.m. with comments for local dignitaries, and Sonny Dixon was Master of Ceremony.
Ongoing entertainment included story telling and face painting by June Marie, fire safety and prevention by Bryan County Fire Department, disaster and hurricane preparedness information by Bryan County EMS, water safety by YMCA, and various raffles, among many others. Local band Perception took the stage at 8 p.m., and at 9 p.m., entertainment took a break so the community could join together for a Crime Walk.
More festivities followed with local entertainment from J. Jourden until the event’s conclusion at 11 p.m.
Over 25 local businesses were sponsors and/or donators for the event.
"We received about $850 in city donations from the business community, and the softball tournament last week raised $350 that we used for the Night Out t-shirts," Carney said. Business donations went toward providing free hotdogs, peanuts, and bottles of water to event attendees, with the Pembroke Lodge doing all the cooking. Any community donations for the food went to S.A.D.D.
"This is really better than I ever expected," Carney said. He estimated 300 to 400 community members who came out to show support.