The Forest Grove Police Department seeks citizen involvement in overall safety, starting with a community open house Saturday morning.

“There’s an increased need for the community to be working more closely with the police department to improve livability and safety,” said Forest Grove Police Captain Mike Herb. “We can’t rely on police to be at a park watching it 24 hours a day, but if we have eyes watching for us, it makes it easier.”

The open house will bring together current Neighborhood Watch groups with those who want to join and those interested in general safety.

Attendees will also discuss how to stop the increase of graffiti around town, the need for a city code sweep and various safety reminders, said Herb.

“We want people to know when to call police, and the right numbers to call for whatever situation they are encountering,” said Herb. Many citizens are surprised to learn about the non-emergency number, he said.

Attendees will also help plan Forest Grove’s National Night Out, a crime-fighting community-building celebration, said Herb.

Last year, National Night Out consisted of several Neighborhood Watch groups gathering for a late night barbecue. This gave police officers a chance to hop around town, give presentations on safety to each group and hear the communities’ concerns in specific areas.

“We do not want the police to be perceived as a separate entity or ‘government extension,’ but rather a part of the community with the same common goals shared by our citizens,” said Herb.

The open house is to revitalize what’s already in place.

“We’re not doing this because we have a huge problem, but to increase the chance of working more closely with residents to prevent things before they become a problem,” said Herb.

Join the police department from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 29, at the Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St.

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