SUMTER, S.C. — Each year, National Night Out events bring together police and the communities they serve to have conversations, interact and build relationships.
These events normally draw a crowd, but this year, many of the gatherings will look different due to COVID-19.
Sumter police plan to celebrate Oct. 6, but, instead of the normal cookouts and other community events, they’re asking city residents to turn on their porch lights from 7 – 9 p.m.
During that time, police will ride through city neighborhoods to convey a spirit of togetherness.
“Even though we’re going through this epidemic and through this COVID, it’s still important to let people know in the community that we still care about them and we still have this working relationship,” 1st Sgt. James Sinkler said. “We’re asking people to turn on their porch lights that want to participate in it and we’re going to have officers just kind of riding through the neighborhood. We won't be getting out. There won't be people having cookouts and large gatherings like we normally do.”
They hope to send the message that neighborhoods and police can work together to address issues and make a difference.
Sumter County authorities are also joining in, but in a different way.
Deputies say they’re planning a parade-style event through multiple crime watch neighborhoods that requested it.