CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Dozens of organizations joined the Clemson Police Department to celebrate National Night Out on Saturday.
This year’s theme was to “meet your heroes.”
National Night Out has been celebrated across the country for 36 years. The event brings together law enforcement, first responders, local organizations and the community.
For Clemson PD it helps officers build stronger relationships with the people they serve. Victim Advocate Debra Shockley says that rings true every time and especially when she brings the department’s therapy dog, Ozzy.
“He opens doors for communication more than anything,” Shockley said. “Somebody will walk over and ask about my dog and talk about my dog and talk to me about my dog before they would disclose that they have been hurt by someone.”
Shockley says officers can’t do their jobs without the community and events like National Night Out help tremendously.
“I mean you would be surprised at the amount of insight we get from the community and we get to hear their concerns,” Shockley told 7News.
It also helps to have strong community partners like Safe Harbor. It’s an organization that breaks the cycle of domestic violence.
“It’s just really important to first be able to get that help from the community. Also, be able to offer that help people who may be going through an abusive relationship,” said Ana Castellanos.
The Pickens County Advocacy Center also showed up to spread awareness about human trafficking.
“Letting them know there is an issue, not just within our state but within Pickens County itself.,” said Jason Berry. “Letting them know how to be aware of human trafficking, how to be safe [and] especially their young children.”
Clemson officers will be out at various neighborhoods on Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. to meet with the community. People are encouraged to turn their porch lights on in support of National Night Out.