Celina residents will have a chance to connect with both new and seasoned Celina Police Officers in a relaxed setting next month.
Oct. 5 marks the 2021 chapter of Celina’s National Night Out festivities. The event, a localized version of the national campaign that aims to connect residential communities and local law enforcement, will include both Celina neighborhoods that choose to host block parties as well as a city-hosted party in Celina’s downtown square.
As Officer Chase Guidera puts it, the event gives police officers time to be more personable.
“I’m not ‘Officer Guidera,’ I’m just Chase,” he said. “I know I’m wearing the uniform, and I serve the citizens of Celina, but I want to have more of a family feeling than just somebody in uniform.”
The event serves an additional purpose: it also provides a chance to build connectivity among neighbors, especially as new Celina residents continue to come in from different parts of the state and country.
“Celina’s going to grow,” Guidera said. “With that said, how do you still keep that small-town feel when you potentially have a population of over 300,000? And that’s going to be the unity within those individual communities. So that also brings people out of their comfort zone, not just with us, but with just their neighbor.”
That connectivity makes neighborhoods safer, too: as neighbors get to know each other, they’ll also start paying attention to things and interacting more, Guidera said.
Guidera said he expected about 12 neighborhoods to participate this year. Over the years, the city has seen more participation as Celina neighborhoods have grown. Guidera used the example of the Sutton Fields neighborhood, which he said had a small party in its first year.
“But now, because they’ve done it twice already, they’re growing and people want to come out, not just to meet us, but to meet each other,” he said.
Guidera said what happens at the parties is up to the communities who host them. Guidera said Celina police have been invited to sizable National Night Out parties like the ones at the Carter Ranch and Heritage neighborhoods, but they’ve also been to gatherings that have garnered about six people, Guidera added.
“Do we still show up? Sure,” he said, “And hopefully, once again, that sparks interest for the next year and they want it to grow too.”
The event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Neighborhood representatives can email Guidera at email@example.com to register a National Night Out party.