National Night Out (NNO) has become the cornerstone and focal point for Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) in the historic Gold Rush town of Placerville. Each August the entire community comes together to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer community. The mission of the Placerville Police Department is that we are, “dedicated to a partnership between community and the police in a collective effort to improve the quality of life and to promote a safer community.” NNO is the heart and soul of this mission and the means by which our police department has been able to make a noticeable impact on this community.
NNO has become a greatly successful launching pad where each year we set the tone and carry out the spirit of NNO throughout each day of the rest of the year — This continues to be our “Project 365” — enhancing our COPPS efforts on a daily basis. Relationships have been built where citizens share vital information about chronic problems so that, collectively we can work to improve our community. Over the last eight-plus years through our “Project 365” COPPS we have reduced our annual crime rate, Uniform Crime Reports 45 percent — we attribute this to NNO and the strong police-community partnerships forged through communication and collaboration. We have learned that by connecting police officers and other government officials face to face with the community through NNO we create a free flow of information, understanding and trust where problems actually improve and even get solved — to us this is NNO in every spirit of the intended meaning.
In recent years when economic times have hit us hard — budget cuts, lay-offs, etc. — we approached our community and asked if NNO had become too much work, too expensive a proposition — should we scale back to perhaps just one venue? the resounding answer was as we hoped: No, that NNO has become a well-loved tradition for the neighborhoods and families, that deep friendships have been formed through NNO and the town is safer and more pleasant for it.
With that, Police Department senior volunteers Suzanne Ball and Bonnie Rogers have stepped up to help coordinate Placerville NNO 2010, 2011 and now 2012 — the exact spirit of NNO — caring citizens participating and promoting the vital police-community partnerships.
This year in 2012 we celebrate the 29th anniversary of NNO with 21 different venues including four venues open to the public. Well over 3,400 people are anticipated to participate in Placerville NNO 2012. Target will be present as the National sponsor and local Save Mart Grocery is our long-time local sponsor.
Thank you to all the persons and organizations that have made Placerville NNO such a resounding success over these many years. Placerville is proud to be a part of National Night Out and invites all members of the community to participate in NNO 2012 on Tuesday evening, Aug. 7.
Chief of Police, Placerville Police Department