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Sunday, July 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Plan now for Night Out Against Crime party in August

At a  National Night Out Against Crime party, Kayson Smith, 10, careens down the water slide that entertained the younger residents of the Richard Allen Apartments in the South Perry District in Spokane, Wash., on Aug. 1, 2017. The residents were treated to a barbecue, the water slide and live music. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
At a National Night Out Against Crime party, Kayson Smith, 10, careens down the water slide that entertained the younger residents of the Richard Allen Apartments in the South Perry District in Spokane, Wash., on Aug. 1, 2017. The residents were treated to a barbecue, the water slide and live music. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Now is your chance to plan your very own National Night Out Against Crime neighborhood party for the first Tuesday in August and it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be.

Many people believe they have to be involved in Block Watch or Neighborhood Watch in order to host a party on Aug. 6, but that’s not true, said Venus Delcambre-Morris, Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort Neighborhood Watch coordinator.

“You can have a party if you are part of it or not,” she said.

All that’s required is a spot to hold the party and a bit of a plan. Just don’t plan on closing a street because emergency vehicles still need to get through, she said. “A lot of people do it in their front yard,” she said. “We don’t encourage blocking off the street. You can use a little bit of it.”

And the best part is, there’s virtually no paperwork. “You don’t have to have a permit to have a party in your neighborhood, but if you have it in the park you have to have one,” she said.

People are asked to register their National Night Out parties through Spokane County at https://bit.ly/2LLt9yG or the city of Spokane at https://bit.ly/2XS4ONX. The deadline to register a party is July 30 and Spokane County residents who register a party by July 19 will have a chance to win a hot dog dinner for 25 people. People can also register their gathering at the National Night Out website at natw.org/registration.

When you register through Spokane or Spokane County you can request special guests attend your party, including McGruff the Crime Dog, local political officials, firefighters, deputies, police officers, Air 1, Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

Delcambre-Morris said efforts are made to grant as many special guest requests as possible. “The sheriff is one of the most requested,” she said.

She said there are usually around 45 to 50 National Night Out parties in Spokane County, not including the city of Spokane. They vary widely. Some have free food and music while others are small and low key with a potluck or ice cream social. Whatever you plan, Delcambre-Morris recommends recruiting friends and neighbors to help so you don’t get overwhelmed.

“You can make it as expensive or as inexpensive as you want,” she said.

There are several large National Night Out parties planned for Aug. 6 that are free and open to residents from all neighborhoods, so it’s not too early to make plans if putting on your own party isn’t on the menu.

The South Hill SCOPE office will host a gathering from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Prairie View Water Park, 3724 E. 61st Ave. There will be raffles, free hot dogs and pizza, music, games, a fire truck, police officers and a helicopter.

Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church, 4102 S. Crestline St., will hold a party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with a hot dog dinner, bounce house, slide, live band, helicopter and children’s activities.

A party will be held in Shorty Combs Park on West 18th Avenue in Airway Heights from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring hot dogs, children’s activities, law enforcement and a fire truck.

An ice cream social is planned from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Green Bluff Grange, 9809 E. Green Bluff Road. There will be a helicopter fly-in, fire trucks and a possible visit from the sheriff.

Going even farther north, the Elk SCOPE office at 40116 N. Elk-Camden Road will hold a free party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with free refreshments and a visit from a crime prevention deputy.

On Aug. 10, the SCOPE’s Neighborhood Watch office will hold a large free community National Night Out party from 4 to 7 p.m. on the west side of the Spokane Valley Mall. There will be face painting, mounted patrol, a K-9 demonstration at 5:30 p.m., vendors, rides, ice cream, hot dog dinner, a helicopter, a fire truck and an ambulance. Those who bring a donation of canned food for Northwest Harvest will be entered in a drawing to win four passes to Silverwood Theme Park.

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