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Public Safety getting ready for Aug. 3 "Night to Unite"

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Has summer already come and gone? Not yet. There's still a "Night to Unite" to be had.

The annual night out where neighborhood block parties intersect with police officers and fire fighters over pot luck fare and barbecue grills will take place Tuesday, Aug. 3.

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Traditionally, the Woodbury version of the event has been tagged "National Night Out," but that changed last year when many public safety departments across the state began distancing themselves from the copyrighted name in favor of "The Night to Unite," a program of the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association.

Despite the name change the message was well received last year with more than 40 neighborhoods participating across the community, said Rebecca Leatherman of the Woodbury Public Safety Department.

"(Night to Unite) gives us an opportunity as the public safety department to meet the community with a message of crime prevention," Leatherman said.

Neighborhoods who sign up in advance get a visit from police and fire fighters, who usually arrive in their squad cars or fire engines. Often children get a chance to converse with public safety officials and turn on a siren or dress up in fire fighter gear.

"It's a great environment to teach children how to carry on this tradition of getting to know your neighbors, police officers and fire fighters," Leatherman said.

So what do the firefighters and police officers get out of the exchange? Good food for sure, but that's not the reason they participate, Leatherman said.

"So many times residents see us when there is an emergency situation," she said. "Here is a chance for a relaxed atmosphere and just getting to know each other."

Still time to register

Registration is not required for neighborhoods to hold block parties, but those who want a scheduled visit from public safety officials or Woodbury City Council members need to sign up by Tuesday, July 20, Leatherman said.

The city's website allows online registration at www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/policeFire/psn2u.html. Or you may call (651) 714-3784.

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