PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Across the country, police departments and community organizations are teaming up for National Night Out. That includes several municipalities throughout the Lehigh Valley and in New Jersey.

Among the goals is to create a fun environment for people to get to know the officers who keep them safe.

"Put a face with a badge and a car," said James Kern, the Warren County Commissioners' Director.

"Most of the police officers in this town live in the town," said Warren County Sheriff Jim McDonald.

McDonald and Kern are stopping by all of the county's National Night Out events Tuesday, starting in Phillipsburg and ending in Hackettstown.

"To meet the police officers and also the first responders. The fire departments are involved, the rescue squads," said McDonald. "They're fantastic people."

There's food, music, games and K9 demonstrations.

Organizers say with crime on the rise across the country, and the ongoing opioid epidemic on top of the coronavirus pandemic, these relaxed, unifying events are more important than ever.

"There could be new officers, new people moving into town," said Kern. "I think it's really important to have that community aspect because that's really where crime is all stopped is through the community working together."

"Talk to people about what's going on in their neighborhood, what's going on in law enforcement today," said Capt. David Beitler of the Easton Police Department.

Across the Delaware River, Easton Police Department's cookout is outside Paxinosa Elementary School.

Beitler is excited to meet new people interested in law enforcement.

"To get out and talk to people about the Easton Police Department, what we do as an organization and just try to reach out there and make connections with a lot of younger people," said Beitler.

Upper Macungie, South Whitehall and Nazareth are some of the many other local police departments hosting National Night Out events this year.

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