The Dedham Police Department and the civic groups in town are turning National Night Out into a three-day celebration complete crime awareness and a fundraiser.
National Night Out is held in towns throughout the country with the goal of uniting neighborhoods and police departments to encourage community participation and creating awareness about public safety.
"The time is right for Dedham to make its mark and participate in this national program," Dedham Police Chief Michael d'Entremont said. "We are looking to capitalize on the success and positive energy generated by the various groups to make Dedham's neighborhoods safer."
While other towns will be holding National Night Out on Tuesday, Dedham has extended it to Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with public safety-related events each day.
- Police officers will battle members from civic groups in a softball game at Condon Park at 9 a.m. Sunday. Coffee and treats are free to spectators.
- On Monday, d'Entremont and the department will hold an open house at the police station for tours, get an inside look at police cars and check out the mobile command post and other units. D'Entremont has said he hopes the open house will generate support for a new station in the near future.
The official National Night Out is Tuesday and a full slate of programs are planned from the morning until 11 p.m.
- From 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., officers will issue a warrant for Dedham residents on the "Most Wanted" list for a fund-raising "Jail and Bail" event. Each civic group will identify people who have to raise enough money to get bailed from jail. While in jail (with food), the participants will get mug shots - to be posted on Facebook - and will have to seek pardons. Proceeds will benefit the participating civic organizations.
- From 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., the Dedham Historical Society will host a panel discussion on prescription drugs with panelists Leanne Jasset, a Board of Health member, Ron Pucci, the school resource officer, and detectives Robert Walsh and Kevin Mahoney.
- McGruff the Crime Dog will lead a children's costume parade through Oakdale Square from 6:30 - 8 p.m. Parents and kids alike are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero or crime fighter. Each child will receive a glow stick to light the night, and adults are encouraged to join.
- At 7 p.m., head to Condon Park for a showing of a "Scooby Doo" movie with some popcorn and drinks. Just make sure to bring your bug spray.
- Lastly, from 8 - 8:30 p.m., residents will meet at Terri's Market and walk through the Manor neighborhood to light the night, and enjoy an evening stroll under the stars.
Residents are also encouraged to leave their lights on until 11 a.m. as a show of unity.
"This program represents a way to strengthen police-community partnerships," said selectman Jim MacDonald, "and celebrate all of the great work done by law enforcement."