Windsor, IW, Surry host National Night Out

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A forecast of rain on Aug. 3 didn’t stop Isle of Wight County’s Sheriff’s Office from participating in its first National Night Out celebration since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheriff James Clarke Jr. and his officers partnered with the town of Windsor’s Police Department to jointly host the annual nationwide community-building campaign inside the Windsor Town Center’s gymnasium, making the weather a non-issue.

“I definitely want to thank Chief [Rodney] Riddle and the Windsor Police Department and my staff … We didn’t do this last year because of COVID,” Clarke said.

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With new cases once again on the rise, he urged attendees to keep their safety in mind when interacting with each other that evening.

Being mindful of your surroundings can also help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime, he added.

“This is an opportunity for law enforcement to reiterate with the citizens … if you see something in your neighborhood and you want to increase your quality of life, your way of living, please say something,” Clarke said. “Tell somebody what’s going on in your neighborhood. We can’t be there all the time. Citizens, you are our eyes and you are our ears.”

“We had a good turnout of citizens at the event and appreciated putting it on with the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Health System, and other community groups,” said Windsor Town Manager William Saunders. “It was great to have an opportunity like that for the community to come out; everyone in attendance seemed to be having a great time.”

Riverside, which hopes to construct a 50-bed hospital in Isle of Wight County, provided refreshments for the event.

Joel Acree, who represents the Windsor District on the county’s Board of Supervisors, described the event as “a wonderful opportunity as a community for us to come together.”

“We appreciate you coming out and the opportunity to be with you tonight,” said Windsor Mayor Glyn Willis.

Surry County also saw a high turnout at its National Night Out, as Sheriff Carlos Turner had expected.

Last year, when its traditional National Night Out festivities were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for October in combination with a trunk-or-treat, about 250 cars participated, Turner said.

This year, Surry’s event included a school supplies giveaway, outdoor games and a bounce house for children.

“The rain held off to provide a perfect backdrop,” said Surry Sheriff Carlos Turner. “We had 60 organizations and participants to include County Department and Constitutional Officers.”

He estimates between 350 and 450 people attended, including a friend and fellow sheriff, Fred Clark, from Halifax County and one of his deputies, who drove for several hours to see Surry’s National Night Out.

“I would like to thank everyone for the smiles, laughs and great camaraderie,” Turner said. “We also give a huge thank you, to all who participated, for your support to law enforcement and first responders.”

The town of Smithfield and its Police Department plan to host a separate National Night Out event on Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m., at the Luter Sports Complex.