NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — For some cities, this is the first time they’ll hold several community-wide events since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newport News is planning a big kick-off event at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday in the police department’s community room. There are also 12 neighborhood events planned to get folks out, interacting with their neighbors and law enforcement.

“It’s a great night. There’s ice cream social, there’s hamburgers and hot dogs, there may be a fish fry,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew.

The night of fun also serves a greater purpose in the city.

“A time for the city to come together and unite. Taking back our neighborhoods, our communities,” Chief Drew explained.

The nationwide event is a time where citizens and police officers can build relationships and talk about what their communities need most. Chief Drew tells 10 On Your Side his department has a kick-off ceremony planned with a proclamation by Mayor McKinley Price, followed by family-friendly events at three of the city’s public libraries.

“Being involved protects communities,” Chief Drew stated.

Drew’s looking forward to seeing the department’s 25 new graduates out and about Tuesday night, introducing themselves and getting to know the city they serve.

“This job is hard. It is demanding but it’s also extremely, extremely rewarding and making sure that young officers know in this department that they can make a difference in someone’s life,” Chief Drew said.

You can find a full list of National Night Out events here.