National Night Out cancelled in Linwood; Northfield event in doubt

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Kids enjoy a fun evening along the bike path during the Northfield National Night Out event in August 2013. Kids enjoy a fun evening along the bike path during the Northfield National Night Out event in August 2013.

NORTHFIELD—Whether National Night Out is going to happen in Northfield on August 5 is still not set in stone despite it being just two short weeks away. In nearby Linwood, the plans National Night Out has already been cancelled according to Police Chief Colin Hickey.  

Northfield Mayor Jerry McGee pulled the plug on National Night Out plans Monday afternoon saying as head of public safety for the city, he was not sure he could actually man the event with the necessary number of Northfield police officers to assure the event’s safety which this year had been moved to the Northfield Community School.

McGee said no police officers had volunteered to work the annual event as of Monday.

The mayor added that he had not been consulted prior to a city-wide email blast listing upcoming events going out and the email included the National Night Out.

Late Tuesday evening McGee was asked if he had reconsidered the decision about National Night Out and the mayor said he could not do that, citing the fact that vendors had been notified the event was cancelled Monday, he could not in good conscience go back the next day and say it was back on.

Northfield has been facilitating the grass roots anti-crime event for the past 15 years and it has grown each year under the leadership of now-retired police Captain Art Faden, who last organized the event along the bike path in 2013.

The funding for NNO comes from the Northfield Municipal Alliance and because it is a venue where the police and residents spend the evening together it qualifies as an anti-crime event.

On Wednesday morning, City Council President Jim Travagline said a resolution would be on the agenda for the council’s July 28 meeting and he is hopeful a majority of council members will approve the motion and put Northfield’s National Night Out back on the calendar.

The council members will take a vote and unless they are deadlocked, the Mayor will not have a vote because of the strong council, weak mayor system in Northfield.

Travagline said that after speaking with newly appointed Police Chief Colin Hickey that officers have stepped forward to man the event that night.

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