Cloquet Police Department seeks community's help for National Night Out
According to Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall, the department does not currently have the staff required to plan and host this year's event.
The Cloquet Police Department announced Saturday, July 17, that they will be reverting to a more "original" model for National Night Out by asking the community to help coordinate the local event.
National Night Out is a national campaign aimed at promoting police-community partnerships that takes place the first Tuesday in August each year, according to the National Night Out website . The event can look different for every community, with festivities ranging from block parties to parades to cookouts.
Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall said that in past years, the CPD has hosted a city-wide celebration at Veterans Memorial Park with grilling, live music, a bouncy house and police demonstrations. This year, however, he said he could not ask his staff to coordinate the event when the department is short-handed.
"It was a lot, a lot, of work," Randall said of past events. "It got away from us."
Because of low staffing levels, Randall is hoping that individual neighborhoods will take the initiative to plan events similar to block parties, which CPD officers can attend.
As of July 19, CPD was operating with 21 officers, despite having a desired and budgeted staffing level of 24. Although the city hired two new officers on Tuesday, July 20, two current officers were simultaneously promoted to the position of patrol sergeant.
New officers, community outreach and the sort of "rebranding" that the department has undergone in recent years are reasons why he still wants to see National Night Out continue, even if the format needs to change, Randall said. After not having a National Night Out in 2020 due to COVID-19, he is hoping people will be willing to help make 2021's event a success.
"It is a really good experience," he said. "I don't want that to go away."
To learn more about how to get involved in National Night Out coordination, contact Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org .