SCDMH Public Safety Helps Bring Community Together at National Night Out 2020

National Night Out 2020SCDMH's Division of Public Safety (Public Safety) joined fellow law enforcement agencies at the Midlands' National Night Out Tuesday, October 6.  Historically, National Night Out is held on the first Tuesday of August. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, law enforcement agencies across the country opted to hold the event on October 6th. Public Safety, in partnership with the Richland County Sheriff's Department, Columbia Fire Department, The Meeting Place Church, and several other state and local organizations were determined to hold the event despite the challenges brought by COVID-19. Through teamwork and creativity, they found a way to make it happen!

In accordance with DHEC recommendations for physical distancing, this was a drive-thru event. The change of format did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. 750 people registered for the event - so many that registration had to be closed to ensure traffic control.  Catered meals and vendor gift bags were provided to attendees, who also enjoyed musical entertainment by Roy & Revelation, and the whole event was free for attendees!  SCDMH and Public Safety boasted excellent representation, and Senior Management’s participation throughout the event was a great morale booster for staff. SCDMH Public Safety Chief Elizabeth Hall was one of several law enforcement chiefs to participate.

National Night Out is designed to provide an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Each partner of the event was allowed to share information about their respective organizational mission, structure, and services provided to the community. For SCDMH, this included information about Public Safety, the SC-HOPES and Tu Apoyo support lines, as well as goodies for kids and adults alike, including junior Public Safety Badges, coloring books and crayons, police car-shaped stress balls, anti-stigma buttons and bracelets, suicide prevention and Mobile Crisis materials, and more!

Event organizers declared the event a great success and feel they accomplished the goal of strengthening the relationships between neighborhoods and law enforcement agencies while reinforcing a sense of community.  Public Safety's Community Relations Coordinator Chena Melvin, who organized the Division's participation and served on the planning committee, relayed that the logistical changes had no effect on the camaraderie shared by all attendees and that the Division looks forward to participating again next year.


October 14, 2020
Contact: SCDMH: Tracy LaPointe | (803) 898-8582 |