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Agawam Police hope to make community connections at Night Out

Date: 7/27/2022

AGAWAM — The Agawam Police Department and its community partners are planning a fun and informative event for people of all ages next Tuesday night at School Street Park.

That’s when Agawam will join nearly 16,000 communities across the country in hosting annual National Night Out (NNO) activities. It’s a family event where children and adults can see numerous examples of how their lives are being protected by individuals who serve in public safety agencies.

The free public event on Aug. 2 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. is sponsored locally by the Agawam Police and nationally by the National Association of Town Watch. Similar to an old-fashioned block party, Agawam’s 2022 NNO will feature music, food and festivities. Agawam has hosted its own NNO since 2013, and this will be the 38th year nationally.

Also known as “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” NNO promotes “neighborhood camaraderie” among residents by having public safety personnel available to talk with the public. With a broad scope that covers many aspects of public safety, past NNOs in Agawam have attracted between 500 and 600 people.

“I would love to welcome our community here in Agawam and surrounding areas to come out for what is always a great family experience for visitors, especially their children. Our personnel are eagerly looking forward to engaging positively with the community,” said Agawam Police Officer Jeffrey Hichborn, who is organizing this year’s NNO.

He said the police will have their officers and cruisers at the event along with a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) display. Additionally, the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department will have personnel and equipment on display.

“MSP has committed to showing its Air Wing helicopter and its Special Tactical Operations (STOP) team’s BearCat armored vehicle. We are also hopeful that both the MSP and the sheriff’s department will have K9 dogs to demonstrate as well.”

One of the most popular demonstrations at the event is the Agawam Fire Department’s use of its Jaws of Life tools. During the demonstration, firefighters use the powerful hydraulic tools to show how they can dismember a vehicle to rescue people trapped inside after a crash. The demonstration is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the parking lot near the Corey Street entrance to the park.

Along with local law enforcement assets, Hichborn said there will be several resource partners from the community to speak with the pubic regarding a wide range of topics, from mental health to elderly services.

Free water, popcorn and hot dogs will be available while supplies last. Trucks from Agawam’s Department of Public Works, Republic Services waste disposal, and Interstate Towing will be displayed. A King Ward bus with the Springfield Thunderbirds mascot Boomer is also scheduled to appear. Hichborn added that there’s a possibility a few Looney Tunes characters from Six Flags New England will show up.

After the public safety portion of NNO ends around 7:30, the Parks and Recreation Department will host its SummerFest free concert. Usually these concerts are on Wednesdays, but during the week of National Night Out, they are always shifted to that Tuesday.

“This year’s band is the very popular Changes in Latitude — and it should be a great time,” said Hichborn.