National Night Out set for Tuesday at town center

Published 5:16 pm Friday, July 30, 2021

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The year 2021 has been one of many happy returns, and the latest example of that is the return of the in-person version of the National Night Out event, which is an occasion designed to give law enforcement and the public an enjoyable opportunity to interact with each other and build relationships.

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office/Windsor Police Department National Night Out event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Windsor Town Center, located at 23361 Courthouse Highway in Windsor.

Isle of Wight County Sheriff James R. Clarke Jr. noted a virtual National Night Out event was held locally in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he expressed excitement with the return of the in-person iteration.

Windsor Police Chief Rodney D. “Dan” Riddle communicated similar excitement.

“It’s awesome, because it gives us an opportunity to interact with the community and get out some good crime prevention information and just work on building relationships,” Riddle said.

Both Clarke and Riddle made it clear that everybody in the Isle of Wight and Windsor communities is invited to the event.

“We want the entire community involved,” Riddle said. “Crime prevention is a total community operation. We’re a small police department, so we need the eyes and ears of the community, and it helps them keep their community safe, it helps us do the same thing, and it is also an opportunity to give them information to protect themselves.”

Clarke and Riddle highlighted their departments’ partnership with Riverside Health System for the event this year.

“They’re going to cater the event, provide the food,” Riddle said, and the food will be free. “They’re going to have a couple of health screening trucks out there and provide some interactive CPR information for community members.”

He said the Western Tidewater Community Services Board will be represented at the event and will be able to distribute information on mental health resources that are available in the community.

Blackwater Regional Library will be on hand talking about its programs that it has in the community, he continued.

“The Windsor Women’s Club will be out there doing membership drives, providing information on what they do and looking to recruit some new members,” Riddle said.

He noted that his department and Isle of Wight’s Sheriff’s Office would be joined at the event by the Virginia State Police.

“We’ll have the Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Victim-Witness program out there putting out their information on what they do to assist members of the community,” Riddle said. “Windsor Fire Department will be there (and) Windsor Volunteer Rescue Squad, so it’s just an opportunity for everybody to come out and get together, hang out and have a good time.”

To give the younger children a place to play, the Windsor Youth Foundation is going to provide a couple of bounce houses at the event, Riddle said.

The chief explained that the local National Night Out event has been a consistent partnership between the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and his department because Windsor draws people from all over.

“The Windsor incorporated limits is about five square miles, but the Windsor ZIP code encompasses about 50, 60 square miles, most of that being inside the county,” he said. “And we work together on things all the time, so it’s just an extension of our continued partnership with them and the other law enforcement agencies in the area.”