The Louisville Metro Police Department is hosting events throughout the city Tuesday night as part of National Night Out.
The annual event started in Texas in 1984 with the goal of preventing crime through building community-police partnerships, and has grown to involve police departments in all 50 states.
This year’s National Night Out comes during especially tense police-community relations. So far in 2016, 560 people have been shot and killed by police officers, according to a Washington Post database. The same database reports 10 of those shootings have taken place in Kentucky.
LMPD Spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said this year’s theme, “Unite for Peace,” is meant to counter the negative atmosphere.
“We already know what the issues are,” said Mitchell. “Now it’s time for reconciliation and healing. This is one small way where that can start to happen.”
Mitchell said events like this are important because they allow officers to get out of their patrol cars and engage with the community.
“A lot of the time people don’t get involved until a tragedy,” he said. “This is an opportunity for folks to get involved before that even happens — to understand the mission of what we’re all about: working together to make our city to safe, to make our neighborhood safe and reducing crime.”
Each of LMPD’s eight division will participate in Tuesday’s events. The locations are:
- First Division: Waterfront Park/Big Four Bridge (1101 River Rd.) from 5:30-8 p.m.
- Second Division:First Choice Market (3044 Wilson Ave.) from 6-8 p.m.
- Third Division: Home Depot (6840 Dixie Highway) from 6-8 p.m.
- Fourth Division: Wyandotte Park (1104 Beecher St.) from 5-8 p.m.
- Fifth Division: Peterson-Dumesnil House (301 S. Peterson Ave.) from 6-9 p.m.
- Sixth and Seventh Division: Target Okolona (7311 Jefferson Blvd.) from 6-8 p.m.
- Eighth Division: Target Middletown (12975 Shelbyville Rd.) from 6-8 p.m.
This year’s National Night Out events in Louisville will feature food, drinks, games and giveaways.
The fifth division’s event will also include a Drive-Thru Drug Toss, where people can safely dispose of any expired or unused medications with the help of LMPD’s Prescription Drug Diversion Unit. Officials ask that any personal information on medication containers be blacked out.
Due to safety concerns, LMPD will not accept used or unused sharps, hypodermic needles, cosmetics, lances, or personal care and hygiene products.