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Cloquet police want to picnic with YOU on Tuesday, Aug. 4

Most parents will readily acknowledge that the days when kids ran free and seemingly unsupervised all over the neighborhood in summertime are mostly in the rear-view mirror. So are the days of unlocked homes and cars, Cloquet Police Commander Der...

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Most parents will readily acknowledge that the days when kids ran free and seemingly unsupervised all over the neighborhood in summertime are mostly in the rear-view mirror. So are the days of unlocked homes and cars, Cloquet Police Commander Derek Randall observed.

Not everyone feels that way, however.

“You’d be surprised at how many people call and tell us someone broke into their car or their home, and when we ask if the doors were locked, they say ‘no.’” Randall said. “Sometimes it’s hard for people to break old habits, but you really do need to lock your doors and let your neighbors know if you’re going out of town.”

In honor of National Night Out and to hopefully encourage some of that old-time community feeling, the Cloquet Police Department (CPD) and others are inviting city residents for fun and free food from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Veterans Park. There will be food, games and prizes, plus free hot dogs and hamburgers and refreshments for all. The event is sponsored by the CPD, Cloquet Area Fire District (CAFD), WKLK radio and members of the Carlton County Mounted Posse.

According to the natw.org website, National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, better places to live by enhancing the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement “while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”

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One week a year, neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other various community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and exhibits.

Randall said it’s really about promoting community interaction - between residents themselves and between residents and police and other officials.

A couple horses from the posse will be there, along with CAFD trucks (as long as there are no emergencies). Randall said there will also be information on gun safety and free gun locks, and safety programs for kids, including a bike rodeo.

“We want to make it a good time and facilitate people getting to know us and each other,” he said.

The National Night Out festivities are also an opportunity for residents to find out more about programs like Neighborhood Watch. Randall said there are a couple different officers who volunteer with the program and a new group is starting in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

It’s all part of making the community safer and a better place to live.

“At the end of the day, if you see something or someone that is out of the ordinary or looks suspicious, call us and we can check it out,” he said. “Maybe it’s nothing. Or maybe it’s the final piece we need to make an arrest. It’s really community policing at it’s finest.”

 

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Editor's note: The story in the newspaper had the wrong day of the week listed. This story is correct. The National Night Out picnic is Tuesday, Aug. 4. 

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