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National Night Out block parties with police return after 2020 hiatus

National Night Out is back.

On Tuesday evening, Community Policing units for Norwich and Groton Town police departments will host block parties in a return of the annual National Night Out event aimed at promoting police-community relations to reduce crime in neighborhoods. National Night Out was among the many annual summer events canceled due to COVID-19 last summer.

Both the Norwich and Groton Town events will include free COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The Norwich 38th annual event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park at Norwich Harbor, with free food, children’s activities, a water slide, demonstrations of police equipment and K-9 units, giveaways and entertainment. City police and fire departments will participate, along with local civic groups providing information on their services. Many local businesses have donated to fund the event, Norwich Community Policing Officer Ryan O’Connell said.

Radio station 107.7 FM will broadcast live at the Norwich event.

“It’s to promote partnerships within Norwich and make the community a safer place,” O’Connell said.

Groton Town Community Policing Officer Heather McClelland said “a ton of great things” are planned for that town’s National Night Out party, to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Poquonnock Plains Park, 150 Fort Hill Road, Groton.

Red Light Band will play for the entire event. Supreme Hot Dog will host a hot dog eating contest. The event also will feature Gabriele’s Karate demos, Groton police K-9 demos, touch-a-truck with police, fire and emergency services vehicles, and free food.

Parking is available at Claude Chester and Sutton Park.

c.bessette@theday.com

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