Breaking News
More () »

National Night Out comes back to Tyler for the first time since the COVID-19 Pandemic

After two years without the event, the city of Tyler brought National Night Out back to connect residents with local officials and neighbors.

TYLER, Texas — National Night Out is a renewed chance for members of local law enforcement to create bonds with the people they serve.

Several cities across East Texas participated Tuesday night. 

In Tyler, a sense of togetherness filled the air as families started showing up at the Tyler Municipal Court parking lot.

This year's National Night Out is special because it's the first time the city of Tyler could hold this event since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

"For the last two years, we've kind of been twiddling our thumbs and we haven't been able to do this," said Andy Erbaugh, public information officer for Tyler PD. "So it's exciting to be back out here. It's exciting to get these started again, and we're really ready to make it grow every year."

The event did grow with many participants coming out to meet police officers, Tyler Animal Control, municipal court judges and more. 

"It's an opportunity for us to meet and greet and make personal contact with the citizens of Tyler," said Amy McCullough, the preceding judge for the city of Tyler Municipal Court. "Besides compliance, we are really interested in rehabilitating people who get tickets and have burdensome fines and court costs. We'd like to try to find ways to help them cure that problem and learn from their mistakes and move on."

Erbaugh said officers planned to join about 50 parties across the city Tuesday night. 

Over on Crescent Drive, one neighbor brought out barbecue and sweets for all the kids on her block.

"We've been doing this close to 40 years now," said Debra Christians, a Tyler resident. "Officers have come out earlier and spoke to all the future generation of Crescent Drive."

Christians said she’s been hosting National Night Out to help teach the kids in her community about paying it forward. But, she also had to stop this annual gathering because of the coronavirus. 

"We're ready to get out and so that's happening here tonight," Christians said. "Some young people, I didn't know their name, but I know it now. I watched the school bus come on this street, and it fills up. So I know we have a lot of life on the street."

Life on the street, a vibrant night for many who missed community events. 

"It gets neighbors together from other neighborhoods, and they can talk to the police," Erbaugh said. "Not only just in a relaxed manner, but they also can ask us questions, they can also tell us their problems."

The Tyler Police Department also brought out McGruff the Crime Dog who was very popular among the kids. 

Christians was also said every year for national night out that the Dominos Pizza on Gentry Parkway donates some pizza to her neighborhood as well.

She would like to extend a thank you for everyone who helps bring her neighborhood together. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out