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Communities and first responders can mingle on National Night Out

Granite Shoals police at National Night Out event

The Granite Shoals Police Department and other first responder agencies understand the value of being part of the community they serve, which is one of the reasons for hosting events such as National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Courtesy photo

Granite Shoals Police Department Sgt. John Ortis knows his interactions with the general public don’t always come at a great time. 

“When we arrive, or fire or other first responders, it’s usually a stressful situation for the people involved,” he said. “But this event — National Night Out — is a chance for the public and kids to see us in a much less stressful time. It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, get to meet, put a name with a face, and a chance for us to just get to know them.”

This year’s National Night Out is Tuesday, Oct. 5, and Highland Lakes communities, including Granite Shoals, Bertram, and Marble Falls, are holding events to promote the initiative of bringing residents and first responders together.

An event hosted by the Granite Shoals Police Officers Association is 5-8 p.m. at Quarry Park, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals.

The Bertram Police Department and elementary school are co-hosting a gathering from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the school, 315 Main St. in Bertram.

Life Marble Falls is holding a community block party from 6-8 p.m. at its facility, 1901 Mormon Mill Road in Marble Falls.

Each event is free to attend and offers activities and food. Police, fire, EMS, and other first responders will make appearances. 

“We’re partnering with the Bertram Police Department to have this event for the community,” said Bertram Elementary School Principal Alicia Harris. “It’s a great chance for our community and families to come out, enjoy the evening, and get to know each other.”

The event includes police, fire, and Pedernales Electric Cooperative crews and vehicles. Teachers are hosting science activities, and kids can enjoy a bounce house. Popcorn and hot dogs will be served. A number of Bertram-area businesses and organizations will be on hand. 

“I think events like this help build our community and those partnerships that make Bertram so special,” Harris added.

Ortis agreed. 

“We’re fortunate here (in Granite Shoals) that we have a pretty good relationship with the people, but you still want to take every chance you can to meet them and others when it’s not as stressful,” he said. 

Police department vehicles and several off-duty officers will be at the Granite Shoals event. The fire department is joining in the fun and bringing several trucks. 

“Kids can climb through the fire trucks and get to see what’s inside a police car,” Ortis said. 

Plus, there will be a bounce house, interactive kids’ activities, a prize giveaway for eight bicycles, and free food. 

“Just come on out and meet us and your neighbors. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

daniel@thepicayune.com