The Santa Monica Police Department will be on patrol tonight, however, crime isn’t the only thing the department will be looking for; they’ll also be seeking to maintain and build community relations.
The SMPD will take part in a nationwide event dubbed National Night Out, an annual, police-community partnership event that spans 16,500 communities throughout the country. The event is a community-building campaign, meant to boost community relations throughout the city in hopes of making the city a smaller and safer place.
The event will be new police chief Cynthia Renaud’s first National Night Out with the department and city, a night she sees as one of community togetherness.
In a video on the SMPD’s Facebook page, Renaud reveals that this year’s National Night Out theme is unity. To strengthen that theme, the event will be held in one location, City Hall, as opposed to spread out across the city as the event has been in past years.
“We want to bring everyone together in one group to meet, and talk, mix, and get to know each other” Renaud says in a video on the department’s Facebook page.
To further unify the community, Renaud said “you won’t want to miss” an art project at the event which will allow community members to celebrate their differences, together, by labeling their roles in society.
Renaud says the end result will show that although “we may be individual in our own ways, we share common labels, common paths in life, and common things that matter to each one of us.”
Renaud will be at the event in person and says she looks forward to meeting the Santa Monicans, a visibility in the community she said she’d strive to maintain.
“That visibility piece is important … we need to be communicative, accessible, open and approachable,” she said in a previous interview with the Daily Press.
Renaud took over as police chief earlier this year, inheriting a department in a city that saw crime rise 12 percent last year.
Santa Monica’s National Night Out will be held outside of City Hall (1685 Main Street), Tuesday, August 7 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
During the event, community members will have the opportunity to meet police officers, view police equipment, enjoy live music, and–for the first 1,000 attendees–enjoy free food.
Sustainable transportation (be careful on those electric scooters) is recommended, but free parking will be available in the Civic Center Parking Structure (333 Civic Center Drive) located across the street from the Public Safety Building.
Sponsors for this year’s event include Santa Monica Police Officers’ Association, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, Snapchat, Boston Properties, Pacific Park, and AT&T.
For more information, visit the SMPD Facebook, message their Twitter account @santamonicapd, or call the Community Affairs unit at 310-458-8474.