Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta participated in the 39th Annual National Night Out. Established in 1984 from a Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant, the goal of National Night Out is to build relationships with and between communities and law enforcement. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. In most areas of the country, the program occurs annually on the first Tuesday of August.
“Public trust is essential to public safety, and the Justice Department is committed to strengthening the bonds of partnership between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” said Attorney General Garland. “Each year, National Night Out provides an important opportunity to build upon these efforts and to celebrate our shared obligations to each other as neighbors and as Americans.”
The Attorney General participated in two National Night Out events in Baltimore, alongside U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron of the District of Maryland. They joined the Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison at a community event organized by the No Boundaries Coalition and later visited a block party in the Western Police District. The Attorney General spoke with community members and local and federal law enforcement partners. Prior to the National Night Out events, the Attorney General met with staff of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore.
Deputy Attorney General Monaco and U.S. Attorney Adair Ford Boroughs attended two National Night Out events in Charleston and North Charleston, South Carolina, with the Charleston Police Department and North Charleston Police Department. The Deputy Attorney General visited Mall Park and Riverfront Park, where she heard from local law enforcement and community members working to strengthen partnerships throughout both neighborhoods. She also had an opportunity to talk with Deputy Chief Chito Walker of the Charleston Police Department and Chief Reggie Burgess of the North Charleston Police Department about their Department’s participation in the Department’s National Public Safety Partnership program which promotes public safety by providing participating communities with specialized law enforcement expertise and resources.
Associate Attorney General Gupta attended two National Night Out events with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica D. Aber. In Richmond, VA they joined Richmond Police Chief Gerald M. Smith, and other local law enforcement and community members, including representatives from the DEA. They discussed the Department’s funding for community policing and other community-police trust-building initiatives. The Associate Attorney General and Acting COPS Director Robert Chapman then participated in a Chesterfield County, VA National Night Out event, where they met with Colonel Jeffrey S. Katz, Chief of the Chesterfield County Police Department, and shared information about the Justice Department’s funding of National Night Out, which dates back to 1982.