Gahanna residents can interact with police officers who protect and serve them during National Night Out from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, at Creekside Plaza, 117 Mill St.

The annual event promotes police-community partnerships to make neighborhoods safer.

The partnership between the National Association of Town Watch and the Gahanna Division of Police brings police officers and neighborhoods together to foster positive relationships.

"National Night Out is a fantastic opportunity for our officers and the citizens we serve to interact in a friendly, fun-filled environment while standing together against crime," said Dennis Murphy, Gahanna police chief.

"We are blessed to be able to bring this event to Creekside this year and look forward to many successful future National Night Out events each August," Murphy said.

The Gahanna Department of Parks and Recreation will provide activities for the free event.

Live music will spotlight the band Rendition, featuring officer Carl Schmuckle, and other surprise acts.

"National Night Out is a nationwide event created to bring officers and community members together with a common message -- to stand against crime and keep our city safe," said Mark Thomas, safety director of the Gahanna Division of Police. "This is a great event for our officers and residents, and I am pleased we are able to bring National Night Out back to Gahanna."

Gahanna is among thousands of communities across the United States participating in the 34th annual National Night Out.

During the day, neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and community events featuring safety demonstrations, family-friendly events, visits from first-responders and exhibits.

Donations related to the local event and any additional proceeds will benefit the Gahanna Parks and Recreation Foundation to provide camp scholarships for youth.

Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of the National Association of Town Watch, introduced the National Night Out program in 1984 through an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations.

The first National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states, according to organizers.

The event grew as participating neighborhoods began to host block parties and events with safety demonstrations, seminars and visits from emergency responders.

Today, nearly 16,000 communities across the nation take part, according to organizers.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla