JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Police Department participates in a night out with area residents.

The 38th annual “National Night Out: Crime Prevention Event” took place this evening (8/2) at Joplin’s Schifferdecker Park.

The free public event featured Joplin’s finest, grilling hot dogs and participating in games and activities for people of all ages.

The Schifferdecker Aquatic Center also joined in by offering a free swim at 6:30 p.m.

The idea behind this annual Night Out is to strengthen the partnership between the community and law enforcement.

“We appreciate our police officers, we appreciate the people who work for the city, and so to be able to work with them and have that time with them together, it’s always really, really exciting,” said Elizabeth Motazedi, Supervisor of the Schifferdecker Aquatic Center.

“We’re not getting called out for a critical incident or where somebody is injured in a car crash or anything like that. This is an event where you can come out and there’s not tension or anything like that and we want to build that bond with the community and with the kids of the community and so it’s really important to us,” said Captain William Davis of the Joplin Police Department.

Across 16,000 communities in all 50 states, over 38-million people participated in America’s Night Out Against Crime.