Although he won't be in the dunk tank, police Chief Jim O'Neill will be ready with a handshake and a smile at Reynoldsburg's third National Night Out, along with his police officers.

"National Night Out is always a big event for us because it allow us to interact with members of the community in an atmosphere that's much less stressful," O'Neill said. "So often, we are dealing with people who have either been victims of a crime or have been involved in a violation of the law.

"In either case, stress levels tend to be high and we never get to see each other in the best light," he said. "National Night Out provides us the opportunity to approach and engage the public in a safe and friendly setting."

The city's National Night Out is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, in the parking lot in front of the former Big Lots store at 1900 Brice Road.

Officer Tony Hines, the police department's community resource officer, said the event definitely will feature a dunk tank, a bounce house, face painting, games and free food.

But did he volunteer to be dunked?

"The plan right now is to have officers in the dunk tank," he said. "If you're asking if the chief, the lieutenants or myself are getting in there, that would be a very hard no!"

The event also will feature free raffle tickets to win up to $5,000 in prizes.

"We will have several raffles, but everyone can get a raffle ticket because they are free," he said. "We will raffle off prizes such as kids' bicycles, Kings Island tickets, water-park tickets, gas cards, restaurant meals, gift cards and more."

Hines said the event is held and sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Police Department, but the prizes are made possible by donations from sponsors.

"As far as free food, we will have hamburgers; Skyline Chili will provide hotdogs, and samples from Romeo's Pizza, Max & Erma's, Texas Roadhouse and Carnival Ice Cream," he said.

There also will be a helicopter landing during the evening, along with a custom motorcycle-shop display, a Corvette Club display and a disc jockey playing music.

Reynoldsburg won't be the only community holding such an event. Police departments all over Ohio and the country will participate in National Night Out a community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday in August to foster community partnerships with first responders and to enhance relationships between neighbors, according to information at natw.org.

Hines said he and his fellow officers are looking forward to the chance to meet residents.

"National Night Out gives me an opportunity to communicate and interact with the citizens on a different level," he said.

"It also provides a chance for the community to get to know first responders on a stress-free level, which allows room for building positive relationships."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek