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Sandy Springs' National Night Out to take over Hammond Park
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
August 01, 2012 10:58 AM | 2407 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo<br>
From left, Sandy Springs Police Capt. Steve Rose, Officer Clark Evans and Capt. Keith Zgonc compare notes at the 2011 National Night Out at Hammond Park in Sandy Springs.
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Sandy Springs’ fifth and America’s 29th annual National Night Out will be celebrated Tuesday at Hammond Park, where families can revel in their neighbors’ solidarity.

“The goal of National Night Out is to create a safe and healthy community, so we involve residents and public safety personnel,” Sandy Springs Police Chief Terry Sult said in a statement.

The free event will feature fire trucks and police cars, meet-and-greets with firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians, refreshments, balloons and a kid-friendly safety house which teaches children how to escape a fire.

“We do this while also creating a unique crime and drug prevention event that takes place right in our neighborhood,” Sult said.

The brainchild of Philadelphia-area resident Matt A. Peskin and overseen by the National Association Town Watch he founded, the event represents residents’ “spirit, energy and determination” to promote law and order.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention and neighborhood camaraderie,” he said in a statement about activities which include walks, rallies, contests, cookouts, fairs and parades.

Officer Larry Jacobs said the event, which has seen steady increases in attendance and may zoom up to 350 participants this year, echoes the national organization’s goals.

“It raises awareness that the Sandy Springs police department, fire department and Rural/Metro Ambulance EMTs are approachable,” he said. “The positive community interaction, especially with the children, is definitely the most positive part of the experience. The kids love it.”

Kids will get a chance to visit with the new Sandy Springs Fire Department clown, nicknamed Mac after Chief Jack McElfish, have fun in a safe atmosphere and, maybe, take home a souvenir.

“We will have hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, water, Gatorade, snow cones, police department bracelets and a few other small giveaways,” Jacobs said.

Formerly held in a Target parking lot, the event moved in 2010 to the park’s greener spaces but retained the retailer as a major sponsor of the event, which benefits from the store’s volunteers and donations.

“Target also provides grants to their local law enforcement agencies to purchase needed equipment,” Jacobs said.

A $1,000 grant last year helped the police department buy items like police radios for its new citizens’ patrol unit, which circulates among neighborhoods, helps with traffic safety checks and assists officers at accident scenes or road closures.

The unit, Police Explorers and the Community Emergency Response Team also will attend the event.

If you go

What: National Night Out

When: Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Hammond Park, 705 Hammond Drive, Sandy Springs

Cost: free

Information: (770) 551-6900 or

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