Sanford Places First in Nation for National Night Out
Sanford's National Night Out program has been named best in the nation for its population category and best in the state across all categories by the National Association of Town Watch.
This year’s ranking is Sanford’s first time in the number one spot. “I am so proud of this recognition of Sanford’s community spirit and love for each other,” says Mayor Chet Mann.
“First place truly acknowledges the job well done by so many of our citizens and staff who work so hard and really enjoy putting on this event.”
Sanford’s program has placed in the top three every year since 2014 and in the top ten for years before that. The program’s high rankings showcases Sanford’s community spirit, says Mann. “Sanford shines during National Night Out because we are a loving, caring community of people who like to live, work, and play together – and who look out for one another,” he notes.
The 2017 program featured a safety lunch-and-learn for senior citizens, a first responders touch-a-truck, and Sanford’s first ‘Cone with a Cop,’ an event that paired police officers with local children for an afternoon of free ice cream at Dairy Queen. NNO coordinators also collected nonperishable food items and school supplies for the Christians United Outreach Center.
While winning first place is a feather in Sanford’s hat, winning awards is not the reason for the city’s participation in the National Night Out program, points out City Manager Hal Hegwer.
“Our goal for National Night Out is bring our neighborhoods together and strengthen the bonds between our residents and first responders,” he says. “When you go to a National Night Out party, you feel connected to your neighbors and your city. That’s the true reward.”
For the Sanford Fire Department, participation in the program accomplishes multiple goals. “We love being able to go out and meet the community we serve and get to know our neighbors,” says Deputy Chief Ken Cotten.
“We want every home to have a working smoke detector that is within its 10-year manufacture date. During National Night Out, we are able to reach and educate residents about our smoke detector program and other fire safety measures.”
The Sanford Police Department hopes that Sanford’s top score will lead more neighborhoods to start a Community Watch program. “Officers in the Community Police Unit are available to attend Watch meetings any time, though we need at least two weeks’ notice to prepare our schedule,” says Capt. Tony Hancox,
who heads the unit. “We want the community-police partnership to remain strong throughout the year – not just the first Tuesday in August,” he says.
For more information or to get involved in National Night Out for 2018, contact Kelly Miller
at 919-777-1133. For more information about Community Watch, contact Hancox at 919-777-1000. For more information about the Sanford Fire Department’s smoke detector program, call 919-775-8310.