APD and the Sheriff’s office host Austin’s National Night Out kickoff event

Emma Foster, Co Editor In-Chief

Last Saturday, the Austin Police Department (APD) and the Travis County Sheriff’s office collaborated to hold the National Night Out Kick-off event at the Mueller Airport development in anticipation of the National Night Out this Tuesday, October 7.

National Night Out (NNO) is an annual event in Austin designed to promote neighborhood camaraderie, crime prevention and police-community partnerships. Hundreds of neighborhoods in Austin participate every year, hosting events such as block parties, cookouts, and parades.

“[NNO] is for citizens to get to know their neighbors,” said Zainab Banks, the community outreach officer at the Travis County Sheriff’s office. “When you get to know your neighbors you’ll know when something’s off, like when there’s someone at their house that doesn’t belong there, and we can spot crime quicker.”

Many of the city departments supporting NNO exhibited their equipment at the kickoff event on Saturday, including EMS trucks, the APD bomb squad, the Austin Fire Department, a SWAT team, boat and river rescue, and APD’s horses and dogs.

“We’re just here displaying the truck, answering questions about what our day to day job entails, and just giving people a chance to see some of the tools we use and let them ask questions,” said Matt McRae, SWAT officer.

The event was also designed to keep the neighborhood informed of safety practices.

“It is a way for us to go out and talk about fire safety to the community,” said Matt Holmes, a Lieutenant Firefighter. “What we primarily focus on here is the importance of smoke alarms, fire extinguishers use, kitchen fire safety, and evacuation plans.”

The park at the Mueller development drew many families and children to the Kick-off event.

“Geographically [Mueller is] a good center of the city,” said McRae. “The way everything’s laid out… you have an amphitheater you have a lot of the trails and everything people can walk around, it’s a beautiful area — overall it’s just a good place to have an event like this.”

To find out more about the National Night Out and block parties in your area on Tuesday, check out http://www.nnoaustin.org/.