Thousands attend DougCo National Night Out events

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Aug. 9, 2022

(Castle Rock, Colo.) National Night Out is an annual event meant to strengthen community-police relations – and this year’s events may have been even more vital to Douglas County law enforcement than in years past given the national trend of officers leaving the profession.

Police say about 4,700 people combined turned out to both the Castle Rock Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s National Night Out events on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, last week. Parker and Lone Tree police departments also hosted events.

Brian McKnight, a Sheriff’s Office community resource deputy, called the night a “big success.”

“We had employees attending the events from our Patrol, Investigations, Detentions SORT team, SWAT, K-9, Communications, Mounted Patrol, Crime Lab, Explorers, Traffic, Bomb Squad, Hazmat, Bike Patrol, and our School Resource (unit),” McKnight said.

Interactions with community members during the event is a “great morale booster” for officers, according to Castle Rock Police Department Public Information Officer Taylor Temby.

“It gives them an opportunity to personally witness the immense support of our community,” Temby said. “Additionally, it provides residents the chance to have one-on-one conversations with our officers and ask any questions they may have.”

The annual events are part of a national organized push to create better community connections. The events have existed since 1970, starting in Philadelphia.

Chiefs and sheriffs across Colorado and the U.S. have noted a shift in sentiment toward law enforcement following the police-involved shooting death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement – although Douglas County agencies have reported success in retaining and recruiting officers.

CRPD officers sought to connect with not only adult citizens, but the youngsters as well. Temby noted several giveaways were hosted throughout the evening featuring first responder-themed items, including coloring books, stickers and water bottles.

“This is an opportunity for CRPD to get (youth) interested in what we do,” Temby said.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

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