Hogansville hosts National Night Out

Published 9:50 am Thursday, August 3, 2023

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On Wednesday, in an evening filled with fun, laughter and camaraderie, the Hogansville Police Department hosted its annual National Night Out (NNO) at Hogansville Elementary School.

National Night Out (NNO) is a nationwide community initiative based on promoting partnerships between police officers and their local communities. Each year, law enforcement agencies across the country host community events to foster positive relationships between members of the community and the police.

Hogansville Police Chief Jeff Sheppard said the event started under former police chief Moses Ector 13 years ago.

“We started the National Night Out with a Humvee and some flyers, and now it has grown into so much more,” Sheppard said. “This is a community event where residents can come out and see us as people and in turn we can get to know the community and do a little something special for them.”

Among the many agencies that participated were the Georgia State Patrol, the Troup County Fire Department, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, the Troup County Marshals, the West Point Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

“All of these people volunteered their time to come out here, show their static displays, talk to kids and their families to show them we are a part of the community. We have that guardian mentality, and that’s what part of this is, helping our community come together with us,” Sheppard said.

“Night Out helps us get to know people, fight crime and show these kids that we’re people too. We’re not just somebody that drives up in a car with a badge. We’re human beings, and this is always such a fun event. It’s one of our favorite things to do every year.”

Sara Smith, 9, said NNO was really fun and that she liked getting to sit in the helicopter with her sister.

“I think the animals and the dunk tank were fun,” Danielle Newton, 10, said. “I have never been that close to a snake before, and my brother got to dunk the mayor.”

Sheppard said his favorite part of putting on NNO is seeing all the happy children and community building.

“Like everybody else, I do like to see the helicopters, but you can’t beat seeing all the smiles and happiness of these kids out here having fun. That is what means the most to me, and that’s what means the most to my officers,” Sheppard said. “I hope that people take with them a sense of community and that it shows them we are people too.”

City Manager Lisa Kelley said NNO is great a way to do community policing and to let parents know what kinds of programs are in place.

“As the public comes out, they get to meet our officers. So many of them are in plain clothes today and that lets them know that they’re real people that are trying to take care of their families just like everybody else. As these children are growing up, they are learning that the police are on their side, and they have somebody to go to if they’re in trouble,” Kelley said.

“I think this is a win-win for everybody, not only for public safety but for the community. The kids and the parents being able to connect with them too. At the end of the day, it’s all about Hogansville, and it’s all for the good of our city.”