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Spencer, East Spencer hosting joint National Night Out

SPENCER — National Night Out is coming to Park Plaza for the first time when Spencer hosts its first edition of the event in partnership with neighboring East Spencer.

East Spencer has hosted National Night Out events in the past. The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. Communities around the country host their own versions of the event, a community affair that brings residents and police officer together for the evening.

Spencer Police Chief Mike James said he has spent countless hours talking to people, soliciting volunteers and asking for donations to make the event a reality. James said the town this year set aside $800, and donors have filled in the rest of the gaps so everything at the events will be free for residents.

Whosoever Will Let Them Come Ministries got in touch with James after the event was announced and told James they would provide the food. The church is cooking hotdogs with fixin’s. Cheerwine and Food Lion both donated drinks. A number of other businesses have donated, too.

The N.C. Transportation Museum will provide a free hayride through the Spencer Shops historic site. There will be a bounce house as well.

James said the police department will have fingerprinting kits for kids and some other police-related activities such as simulations of impaired driving and crash simulators.

Spencer Town Manager Peter Franzese said National Night Out is a good opportunity for the town to engage with the community.

“It’s just a no-brainer to do it,” Franzese said.

Given the social unrest and attitudes toward police throughout the United States, James said it is imperative to build connections before something happens that creates a rift in the community.

“We need to know the leaders in the community and the hope is when something happens they will trust me and vice versa and we can resolve conflict when there is conflict present,” James said.

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