National Night Out events canceled
Neither the City of Lockhart nor the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office will participate in National Night Out this year, with both agencies citing concerns related to COVID-19.
National Night Out, an annual event that is usually celebrated in October in Texas, is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Previous events in Lockhart and Caldwell County have included multiple neighborhood cookouts on the same night, giving neighbors a chance for outdoor fellowship and an opportunity to meet their community’s law enforcement officers in a low-stress, low-pressure setting.
The event was originally scheduled for Oct. 5. The event was last held in 2019.
According to state data, there have been 6,708 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Caldwell County since the first case was reported in spring 2020. Active cases are estimated at 843 and, to date, the virus has killed 120 people living in the county.
As of Tuesday night, 50.83 percent of Caldwell County residents age 12 and over had received the vaccine.
The sheriff’s office said in a message on its Facebook page that it hoped they would be able to resume participation next year, saying it was important to ensure the safety of the citizens of Caldwell County and the Sheriff’s Office staff.
“While we explore new ways to strengthen community partnerships during the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage members of the community to communicate using contemporary methods, like social media or reaching out to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 398-6777 ext. 4513,” said Kyle McConnell, patrol lieutenant and public information officer.
The City of Lockhart said in a press release that it was with regret that they had to cancel the event, which gives officers a chance to interact with the public outside of an emergency.
“Unfortunately, with COVID-19 threatening the safety of our community and our police officers, we made the difficult decision to cancel National Night Out this year,” said Lockhart Police Chief Ernest Pedraza. “It’s our job to serve and protect. It would go against the Lockhart Police Department’s mission to host an event which could potentially be hazardous to the health and safety of the community and first responders.
“While we are disappointed to have to cancel this amazing event, we look forward to next year’s event.”
Upcoming community events in Lockhart are currently under review. Event organizers have been asked by the City of Lockhart to provide a COVID-19 safety and communication plan prior to approval.