National Night Out, the yearly crime-prevention program celebrated locally and nationally, is all set for 6 p.m. -8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Van Alstyne.


Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said that activities will run inside the Community Center and outside, utilizing its parking lot, which will be taped off for everyone’s safety.


One additional activity has been confirmed now, and that is the landing of the Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter, especially with crime-prevention equipment. Barnes said this is a special treat for him and the agency.


“It’s the first time we’ve had the DPS helicopter. We work closely with DPS and use its helicopter in times of need,” stated Barnes.


The helicopter is equipped with special equipment to enhance searches from the air, such as FLIR camera system, Infrared and Thermal searching gear and spotlights, all of which can make for more thorough searches for escaped suspects or missing people.


“We look forward to having them here,” Barnes said. The helicopter is due to set down around 6:30 p.m. and Barnes pointed out that depends on if they are not called out to work a search elsewhere.


National Night Out is a yearly community-building campaign that promotes police/community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make the area a safer and more caring place to live and is organized, nationally, by the National Association of Town Watch.


Locally, it’s organized by the Van Alstyne Police Department, and offers a chance for all residents and visitors to meet every police officer currently with the agency, as well as those others working with the department, including the dispatchers.


And, it’s done in a festive, friendly and educational atmosphere.


Barnes said that the Community Center will host vendors supplying health and safety information to everyone, whether it’s through demonstrations, hands-on activities, or printed handouts.


In the parking lot, there will be food, a DJ supplying music to make it all even more festive and a bounce house and children’s train for the smaller set.


Van Alstyne has been celebrating National Night Out since, at least, 1996, at the Community Center corner of N. Preston and Van Alstyne Parkway.


“We’ve always had a great turnout here for National Night Out,” Barnes said. “It’s great for community support and a always good time. It gets better and better each year, and there’s no charge for anything.”