Howard County police are preparing for National Night Out, a community event in which officers engage with residents in a fun, family-friendly environment.

“National Night Out is an annual demonstration of the department’s strong partnership with the community,”  Police Chief Gary Gardner said. “Residents play an important role in fighting crime and keeping our communities safe.” 

Police plan to kick off the Aug. 5 event at 6 p.m. at the Harper's Choice Village Center. Events will be held in the common area and parking lot adjacent to Ruth Keeton Way.

The event is being hosted by Harper’s Choice Community Association and will include the volunteer-mounted patrol, command post, McGruff the Crime Dog, live music, refreshments and other activities, according to a news release.


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A blood drive also will be held inside Kahler Hall from 4 to 8 p.m. Residents can schedule an appointment at www.redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED-CROSS. 

Major Merritt Bender of the police department will be joined at the kickoff by numerous local officials: County Executive Ken Ulman, Howard County Council Vice Chair Courtney Watson, Councilpersons Greg Fox and Jen Terrasa, Senator Allan Kittleman, Howard County Fire and Rescue Services Chief William Goddard, Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald and Maryland State Police Lieutenant Shane Bolger. 

Police are asking citizens to turn on outside lights and spend at least one hour in front of their homes – on their porches, balconies, front steps or lawns – to "send a message to criminals that communities are banding together to fight crime."