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Turlock readies for National Night Out
NNO pic 3
Sparky the Fire Dog visits with Emperess, Mercy and Princess at the Columbia Park celebration of National Night Out in August 2015. The City of Turlock will once again host a neighborhood party at Columbia Park for National Night Out, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 2. - photo by Journal file photo

Come next Tuesday the temperatures may drive people inside to air conditioned houses, but the Turlock Police Department is hoping people will brave the heat and come out to support the annual National Night Out celebration.

National Night Out is a movement designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anticrime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

During National Night Out residents across the country are asked to leave the confines of their home and step outside and get to know their neighbors. As a symbol of the long-standing event, residents are also asked to turn on their porch lights. Many neighborhoods host block parties, ice cream socials, barbecues and other special events for the night.

The Turlock Police Department has 38 neighborhoods registered for the event, which grants them a visit from officials from either the police or fire department, city representatives, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Blue Santa.

The City of Turlock’s Recreation Department will be hosting their annual block party at Columbia Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Joining this year’s festivities will be Carnivore’s BBQ, which is hosting a community get-together from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at University Plaza at 2685 Geer Road. The event will include a free barbecue featuring Chili Cheese Dogs and Pulled Pork Nachos and shaved ice for dessert, said Carnivore’s owner and event organizer Richard Aziz.

The event also will feature raffle prizes from Midas and Fitness Evolution, free treats from Mariachi’s, dog treats from Diamond Paws, and goodie bags for kids donated by the city.

“It's coming together wonderfully — every business we asked is so excited to do this,” Aziz said.

The idea for holding the community event came to Aziz after he read about a protest that turned into a barbecue.

“We read about a Black Lives Matter movement that was scheduled in Kansas that quickly diffused into a community support day,” Aziz said. “Local law enforcement came out and barbecued for the protesters and it turned out to be the best thing for the community. I'm a retired Stanislaus County Deputy so I understand the need for the community to associate public safety personnel as that — 'public safety.'  So I asked some of my law enforcement brothers if they would come out and barbecue for the community and everyone was on board. The Dallas shooting hit hard for a lot of the deputies. We don't want that type of stigma to get a footing here — where the community starts to see us as a threat.

“Turlock is a great community and we all have to work together to keep it that way,” Aziz said.