Next Tuesday, Aug. 6, two dozen communities in Calvert will join neighborhoods throughout Southern Maryland and across the nation in celebrating the 36th annual National Night Out. From one end of the county to the other, and all in between, neighbors will be gathering for block parties from about 6 to 8 p.m.

Police officers will certainly be dropping in — not to tell people to break it up or turn down the music, but to celebrate right along with them. The whole thing encourages lasting awareness, watchfulness and deterrence of criminal activity.

It shows residents — particularly our young people — that law enforcement professionals are peace officers. Part of keeping and promoting peace is for folks to see people with badges for who they really are: our neighbors, who are always ready to help at a moment’s notice. If people know and recognize them, they’ll feel more comfortable with local law enforcement. That means they may be more aware of when something is amiss and feel more at ease alerting the police.

Sponsored locally by the Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse, Inc. in partnership with the Maryland State Police and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, the event is “a great opportunity for residents to join together to promote the best of their neighborhoods and encourage partnerships with local law enforcement and local agencies.”

“It’s a great night of fun, food and friendship, and we encourage residents to join in this countywide event,” CAASA board of directors President Debbi Mister said in a press release.

Neighborhoods and sites signed up to host National Night Out block parties include Bayside Forest (at the beach area), Carroll Western United Methodist Church, College Station (off Baythorne Road), Oakland Hall, Patuxent View Community Association (corner of Seagull Beach Drive and Dawn Drive), Prince Frederick Village, Calvert Pines Senior Center, Harriett E. Brown Community Center, Calverttowne Town Homes, Calvert Pines senior apartments and the Yardley Hills neighborhood in Prince Frederick.

Other sites include the Lower Marlboro Fellowship Hall in Lower Marlboro; Patuxent Palisades Civic Association & Shores of Calvert in Dunkirk; The Meadows and Timberneck in Owings; Breezy Point Citizen’s Association in Chesapeake Beach; North Beach Firehouse in North Beach; Victoria Estates in Sunderland; Huntingtown Citizen’s Assocation in Huntingtown; Long Beach & Calvert Beach Civic Association in St. Leonard; and the East-John Youth Center in Lusby.

We read all too often about misunderstandings across the country between law officers and citizens that end tragically, sometimes with the death of either the officer or the citizen. We’re fortunate not to have to print such news stories here in Calvert, and perhaps much of that is owed to law enforcement’s neighborly presence in our local community.

Next Tuesday’s celebrations are another happy reminder that no matter what’s going on in this increasingly divided age, Calvert is a relatively peaceful place on the planet. It’s not newsworthy that almost all of the 91,500-plus people who live, work, play and relax here do so safely each day, but it is pretty good news. So get out and enjoy the neighborhood.

For more information on National Night Out, call CAASA at 410-535-3733, or go to www.co.cal.md.us/186/Events.