The kids will have the chance to get a picture with a hero at an event next week, and the rest of us can get face-to-face with a Tyler police officer in an environment that won't lead to a court date. 

National Night Out rolls around every August, and this year they're expecting more than 700 communities across America to be involved, including Tyler.

Maybe you're not one to organize regular block parties to hang out, grill hot dogs, and shoot the breeze with the neighbors.  I'm with ya!  With all the running around we do in a week if we have a spare evening it's usually spent in the tub with an enormous glass of Pinot so there's no need to move from the reclined position to grab a refill.  In an average week, the only real interaction we might have with the neighbors happens if we're on our way to the mailbox and we wave real quick.  Sad, but true.

One night next week we'll have a great opportunity to get to know our neighbors and we can invite a police officer to join the block party.  The City of Tyler says on its website that Tyler will be a National Night Out city on Tuesday, August 3rd, and neighborhood block parties will be happening all over the city between 5 and 9 pm.

Other cities have suggested that neighbors bring food that provides a glimpse into their history, and that sounds like a great conversation starter.  I may not impress anyone with the canned spaghetti casserole with melted Velveeta on top, but I grew up on it and the neighbors could learn a lot about Nebraska if they were willing to try it.  It could be a cross-country and cross-culture potluck.

If you'd like for a Tyler police officer to visit your block party, register your event with Tyler Police.

National Night Out is a way to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and organizers say it heightens crime and drug prevention awareness.

And it's better than meeting a police officer through the window of the car after being pulled over on The Loop.  We'll make the most of it.

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