Shrewsbury celebrates National Night Out

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By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

Amalia Mulcahy was excited to see Sparky the Fire Dog during National Night Out.
Amalia Mulcahy was excited to see Sparky the Fire Dog during National Night Out.
(Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY — Shrewsbury’s fire trucks and police cruisers filled the town campus on Maple Avenue on Aug. 3, as residents had an opportunity to get to know their local first responders as part of National Night Out. 

It was a cool, clear evening, and Police Lieutenant Michael O’Connor said they were fortunate that it wasn’t raining.

“It seems to be a pretty good turnout,” he said. “We weren’t really sure what to expect because it’s so new.”

Besides local first responders, there was a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Town Hall and food trucks, which typically gather on Thursdays for Food Truck Night in Shrewsbury.

“It’s kind of a way to let the community see that we’re out here and talk to us and see what we have to offer first hand,” O’Connor said.

National Night Out is a nationwide event that occurs on the first Tuesday of August.

It’s designed to bring the community together with the police department and other local community resources, such as the fire department, paramedics or the highway department, O’Connor said.

A number of local agencies came to National Night Out, including the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services and the Shrewsbury Fire Department.

Sure enough, local kids had the chance to take photos with Sparky the Fire Dog and sit in police cruisers and fire trucks. 

Others got to hold reptiles thanks to the Shrewsbury Animal Control. 

O’Connor, who has been with the Shrewsbury Police Department for 28 years, said that the department hasn’t held this type of community event in “a number of years,” though he did recall that the department held a similar event a couple of years ago.

This was the first time the Shrewsbury Police hosted a National Night Out to this extent, he said.

With Police Chief Kevin Anderson new in his position as of 2020, O’Connor said the chief thought National Night Out was a good idea to kick off community engagement, recognizing that, traditionally, police have been hard to approach. 

“We just want people to know that that’s really not the case,” O’Connor said. “We do want to talk to people, listen to people, and hear what they have to say.”

 

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