By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

Central Texas law enforcement officials and emergency crews will be spending the evening attending parties in neighborhoods they serve.

"We (the Killeen Police Department, Fire Department and City Council) will go around and visit all the registered block parties," said Tammy Moseley, crime prevention coordinator for KPD about tonight local observation of National Night Out.

National Night Out, a crime prevention rally that is celebrated nationally and in parts of Canada, takes place from about 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. today.

"It shows an interest in their (the residents) community and an interest in their neighborhood," said Mike Elmore, community service officer for the Harker Heights Police Department. "It gives us a chance to give them information about protecting themselves."

Residents in neighborhoods celebrating the national crime-busting party will attend gatherings that range from block parties to porch sitting to show criminals that they are not afraid to fight crime in their communities.

This is the 24th annual National Night Out hosted in the United States. The cities of Killeen and Copperas Cove will have participated 10 times and Harker Heights is participating for its eleventh.

"The program has continued to grow, and the enthusiasm for the program has not really changed," Moseley said.

Over 30 block parties have registered in Killeen, 15 in Harker Heights, 12 in Copperas Cove and six in Belton, said officials organizing events.

Residents who attend registered block parties in Killeen and Harker Heights will be receiving visits from McGruff the crime dog and from police officers who normally patrol the neighborhoods.

"It is a good positive night where we (police) can go out and have fun with them (residents)," Moseley said. The police do not normally receive a chance to interact with the people they serve unless there is a problem, Moseley added.

The Killeen Police Department district commanders received a list of the block parties celebrating the national event in their patrol areas and will be making stops to meet those they protect, Moseley said.

Many neighborhood block parties have rented balloon houses for children to play in and have planned many different events, Moseley and Elmore said.

Other block parties are being organized by groups such as VFW Post 9191.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or call (254) 501-7554

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