by Mayor Simison

National Night Out (NNO) is an annual campaign that promotes positive community-police relationships by allowing neighborhoods to organize different unique events. Celebrations across the Treasure Valley uplift first responders through parades, cookouts, block parties, and festivals. Police officers travel around these events to introduce themselves, talk, and be part of the community celebrations. Here in Meridian, firefighters and city employees join in on the fun with the police, creating interactions between citizens and first responders in a non-emergency setting building relationships with attendees and neighborhoods.

NNO took place on August 2nd and had participation from 24 different neighborhoods who came together to celebrate and strengthen their communities. Over 2,000 people across Meridian held barbecues and potlucks, played games, and got to know one another. By engaging one another in unique ways, each neighborhood celebrated together and reinforced the public safety values we hold dear in Meridian. If your community didn’t have an event this year, and is interested in participating in National Night Out next August, more information can be found HERE.

With public safety in mind, we recently had multiple groundbreaking events for a police precinct and two fire stations. Fire Station 7, located on Lake Hazel Road, prioritizes the health and safety of both Meridian residents and our first responders. Land for the project was provided by the Meridian Rural Fire Protection District. Fire Station 8 in North Meridian is co-located with our first police precinct. The police precinct will reduce the amount of travel for our officers as they perform their duties and provide additional space for our growing department. Ultimately these facilities are being built to provide the services our community expects and will help keep resources where they are needed, reducing response times in the area and throughout the community.

As we continue to focus on the importance of infrastructure and public safety, I also want to ensure that our most vulnerable population is safe. The number one thing we can help provide to our students in academic endeavors is safety at school. I am proud of the efforts already undertaken by the West Ada School District and Meridian Police Department to protect Meridian’s young learners. Together they have been leading the way in training and collaboration. As we continue efforts to increase safety in schools, my Proposed Budget Fiscal Year 2023 provides funding for six new School Resource Officers (SRO). This program will give SROs at other levels of education the ability to focus on their efforts in the middle and high schools, and for the first time provide dedicated resources to our elementary schools. Now more than ever, the City needs to deploy resources who can help address issues and mentor students, leading to  greater safety in schools.

Meridian is dedicated to providing the public safety services expected by our community.  The relationships we create with events like NNO and deployment of new resources helps us achieve that goal. I want to thank you, Meridian residents for your support in making our city a safe and desirable place to live, work, and raise a family!