Night Out Against Crime parties show community’s dedication

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said he and his officers split up to visit the 40 registered Night Out Against Crime parties sprinkled throughout the parish Tuesday night, all of which Tregre said were a great success.

“(Tuesday) night made all of those officers feel like they’re really appreciated,” Tregre said. “I could see it in their eyes and how they responded at the parties.”

On the third Tuesday of each October, St. John Parish neighborhood parties join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the annual National Night Out Against Crime event.

Tregre, along with many Sheriff’s Office personnel, parish leaders and fire department personnel, visit many of the parties to spend time with residents.

The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation on local anti-crime efforts and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community relations.

“I think people appreciate the job the deputies are doing,” Tregre said. “I think it’s an indicator if we weren’t doing a good job, people wouldn’t host these parties at their homes.”

Tregre said officers were assigned to every registered party, where they talked to residents and gave K-9 and armored vehicle demonstrations. Some residents also got to see crime cameras set up in the back of units, Tregre said, and learn how the cameras help keep them and the community safe.

“If there’s ever a night where we feel appreciated, that’s the night,” Tregre said of Night Out Against Crime, laughing as he added he and all of his officers left each gathering feeling supported and well-fed.

Emilie Yokum, who has organized a Night Out Against Crime party in Riverlands Subdivision for nine years, said she enjoys hosting the annual event.

Yokum said her party gives her the opportunity to get to know her neighbors better, as well as unite as a community to keep crime down.

She said Neighborhood Watch efforts in her subdivision have provided the Sheriff’s Office with information about drug activity, and she’s happy her vigilance and that of her neighbors is paying off in keeping her community safe.