A grand opening/open house celebration for Reynoldsburg's newest police substation will coincide with the grand opening or reopening of several businesses in Blacklick Plaza.
Officer Tony Hinds, one of the police department's community resource officers, said the grand opening is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. May 12 in front of the substation at 6553 E. Livingston Ave., in the Blacklick Plaza shopping center.
"We are bringing in cruisers and DARE cars from other agencies and will have a bounce house for the kids, snacks and giveaways and a disc jockey to play music," he said.
Hines called the event "a small-scale National Night Out."
National Night Out is a community event that takes place in many cities nationwide every August to support collaboration between the communities and police departments.
Hines said the goal of the event is to promote the newest police substation and to show people what is available at the plaza.
"We want to make people aware that the substation is there and its purpose, which is to provide more accessibility to the police department," he said.
"The event is also to show people that the department and the local businesses in the plaza are all working together to make the community better."
Businesses involved in the open house include Arena Diner, Blacklick Auto Spa, Nails by Ali, Bessi Hair Braiding, Grooves Barber Shop and more.
Reynoldsburg police Chief David Plesich said he hopes the event will foster strong community partnerships.
"We hope that continued and meaningful interactions between our officers and the public build strong partnerships," he said. "It is our goal to get to know the people we serve and we want them to know us."
Plesich said the way to improve an area is to "join forces."
"We can strengthen the relationships between the citizens and the police by respecting the importance of public safety and individual rights," he said.
"We have the conviction that we are able to accomplish so much more together than by ourselves."
The police substation opened at the end of last year in an effort to keep officers "visible" in the East Livingston area of the city, Hines said.
"Our community resource officers are assigned to a specific geographical area," he said.
Hines is assigned to the East Livingston Avenue substation, and officer Tammy Jackson is assigned to a substation that opened in August 2017 at 7639 Farmsbury Drive in the Taylor Square area.
"The substations give us better accessibility to the community," Hines said.
He said officers use the substations to hold meetings, conduct interviews, take reports and follow up on incidents.
The department also periodically hosts community events at each substation, such as Coffee with a Cop, where people are invited to stop by and enjoy a beverage and a snack while meeting Reynoldsburg police officers.
Hines said the substations serve the same purpose as the main police station, with the exception of having a jail holding facility.
He said the public can go to the substations with concerns any time they are open, or make appointments to meet officers there.