The Ottawa Police Department is joining other law-enforcement agencies across the country in celebrating National Night Out 2019 on Thursday evening.

The event, which is scheduled from 5:45-9 p.m., is an annual community-building campaign promoting the importance of police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. It’s also an opportunity for residents to talk to local law-enforcement officers and other first responders, including fire and emergency medical services personnel.

This year, Ottawa and 43 other cities across Kansas will celebrate on this special night.

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Thursday in August. In some communities across the country, local neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events.

One of the highlights of Thursday’s event is the Parade of Lights, which will visit registered neighborhoods between 5-9 p.m.

“Ottawa’s National Night Out started almost a decade ago with a small gathering in City Park,” Ottawa Police Chief Adam Weingartner said. “Since then, it has grown into a community-wide event with 10 (to) 20 neighborhoods hosting block parties. Last year, more than 500 people met with their neighbors to promote public safety. I want to thank neighborhood organizers who volunteer to host a block party and to everyone who attends. A special thanks goes to the department’s volunteer coordinator, Ron Hughes, who keeps everyone on schedule, so the Parade of Lights makes it to (our local) block parties.”

Participants can also use hashtags to tag the OPD, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Ottawa Fire Department and Franklin County EMS when posting photos to social media. “Please tag us in your social media posts to make #NationalNightOut a great success,” Weingartner said. “We look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors.”

Those hashtags are #NationalNightOut @ottawapd @OttawaFireKS @frcosheriff and @FRCO_EM.