National Night Out returns to Thomson this year after a six year hiatus. It is set for 6. p.m. Aug. 3 at the government complex and will bring all local aspects of public safety together to greet the public.

It is a combined effort by the Thomson Police Department and the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office, but all area public safety elements will be participating. In past years, the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office has participated in National Night Out in Dearing. The Thomson Police Department held a National Night Out at the housing authority in 2015. The 2016 event was cancelled by the threat of rain. This year’s event has been organized on a much larger scale than the one in 2015.

“The goal of National Night Out for Thomson and McDuffie County is to introduce public safety service to the community. That’s the goal. The theme is unity,” said Sgt. Robert Brown, of the Thomson Police Department. “What we are going to be showing is the unity of the public safety services in the McDuffie County area.”

Brown said this year’s event will involve the Thomson Police Department, McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office, McDuffie County School District Police, the Thomson-McDuffie Fire Department and EMS, the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

Brown said this is the opportunity for the community talk with Sheriff Logan Marshall, Fire Chief Stephen Sewell, Thomson Police Chief Courtney Gale, School District Police Chief Jamie Bridges, District Attorney Bill Doupé, and others. They will all be under individual tents and ready to greet the public. Various public safety vehicles, including the GBI evidence truck, will be on exhibit along with numerous patrol vehicles. The fire department will set up a water play area for children with the ladder truck in similar fashion to what they do each year at Freedom Blast.

“The recreation department and the YMCA will be providing games for kids to be playing,” Brown said.

There will also be several inflatable play activities for children, he added. The evening will open with the presentation of colors by the Thomson High School NJROTC followed by the national anthem. Becky Craven, a longtime member of the National Night Out planning committee, will welcome the audience and kick off the evening. Dianne Landers, another committee member, will introduce the public safety department heads.

Brown said there will be a short program and then the attendees are free to play games, visit with public safety officials, and check out the patrol cars and other vehicles. There will also be a dunking booth and the fire department will be providing the Fire Safety House.

With various children’s games slated, kids have the chance to win prizes, Brown said. Then, throughout the event there will be three separate drawings for door prizes — including three weekend getaways.

“We have been given door prizes from several local businesses,” Brown said. The National Night Out for Dearing this year has been scheduled for October.

The spirit of cooperation among agencies will continue with that even when the Thomson Police Department participates in that one for the first time this year.