Macy and Hayleigh Blair sit inside of a Fort Hood military police car and push buttons to make the sirens go off during the National Night Out event Hood Stadium Tuesday evening. (U.S. Army Photo by Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

FORT HOOD, Texas – Hundreds of Fort Hood residents gathered here at Hood Stadium Oct. 4 for the annual National Night Out event hosted by Fort Hood Family Housing.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, according to the National Association of Town Watch. The event, which is held on the first Tuesday of October in Texas, features a variety of activities designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and build relationships between residents and law enforcement.

In addition to hosting block parties and cookouts, many communities use National Night Out as an opportunity to launch crime prevention initiatives and raise awareness about public safety issues. By coming together for a night of fun and fellowship, citizens and law enforcement officers can help create safer neighborhoods for everyone Col. Chad R. Foster, commander, U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood, commented Tuesday evening.

“It’s all about the community,” Forster said after getting out of the dunking booth. “This (National Night Out) brings us together and can allow the community to interact with our first responders, our law enforcement, and just with each other.”

The event offered children and adults a chance to climb inside patrol vehicles and fire trucks and receive stickers from military police and firefighters. Michelle Blair, who has been at Fort Hood just over a year, said this was her family’s first National Night Out. Blair said it’s great to get out and meet the installation law enforcement.

The event was a success with a mini train, bounce houses and other inflatables. It gave children and adults alike a chance to have some fun while also getting to know the men and women who keep them safe.

“I think that’s pretty awesome because it gives a positive influence and shows that they’re actually role models, someone to look up to and go to if you need help,” Blair said.

Kyler Kilgore races to the finish line to beat Christine Luciano at a Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works Environmental display set up to teach about recycling on Hood Stadium during the National Night Out event. (U.S. Army Photo by Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

Agencies from across the post provided information about their programs and services and the 1st Cavalry Division Band performed.

The event served as an opportunity for law enforcement agencies to get out and meet with members of the Fort Hood Family and the greater community and spread the message of involvement in one’s community, said Lt. Col. Jeremy Prince of the Fort Hood Provost Marshal’s Office.

“It brings a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under a positive circumstance,” Prince said. “National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local crime prevention efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships and send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organizing and we fight back.”