Neighborhood Watch groups can take credit for a recent Sheriff’s Department honor. The Placer County Sheriff’s Department was honored for ranking in the top 15 of 2009 National Night Out events in the country, competing with large jurisdictions such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Palm Beach. National Night Out is celebrated annually on the first Tuesday of August. First-responders caravan the streets in emergency vehicles, visiting neighborhoods. Police, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies visit established Neighborhood Watch groups. The groups take to the street on National Night Out — to socialize, meet first-responders, discuss community concerns. Groups will often have a potluck or ice cream social. Children get to sit in cop cars and on the fire engines and hear siren demonstrations. “The commitment these neighbors have shown by taking control of their neighborhoods and watching out for each other is the reason we earned national recognition,” Sheriff Ed Bonner said in a statement. Community Services Officer Lynn Harrison, a National Night Out coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office, said despite the economic downturn, neighbors continue to stay involved. “National Night Out continues to benefit crime prevention as a whole through awareness and community involvement,” Harrison said. “National Night Out celebrates and solidifies community-law enforcement partnerships.” Anyone interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch program can call Harrison at (919) 652-2419.