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Some Beaufort Police officers put down their guns and picked up their spatulas, serving up hot dots and hamburgers with all the fixings Tuesday as part of the 20th annual National Night Out.'
The nationwide event, sponsored by the National Associa-tion of Town Watch, aims to unite police and community members in their ongoing fight against crime and drugs.'
"We're trying to get the community to come together," said Lt. Carol Smalls, spokeswoman for the Beaufort Police Department. "This is just a happy, good time."'
The police department relies on local residents to help out with crime tips, she said.'
"We can't solve all the problems ourselves," Smalls said.'
The Beaufort Housing Authority has participated in previous events sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, said Ed Boyd, director of the authority. '
"It helps to make the police presence known," Boyd said. "It lets the kids know that the police are the good guys."'
Officers at the event, held at the intersection of Duke and Church streets in downtown Beaufort, provided parents with free child identification kits and showed off their motorcycles to the kids, who also had fun with an inflatable, wave-shaped water slide and body painting.'
Thalia Pinckney brought her children, Tabitha, 9, and Wayne, 7, out to meet some of the officers.'
"I think it really helps get them involved with the community," Pinckney said. "It gives (the children) a chance to ask some questions they might have."'
Tri-Command Military Housing held similar events Tuesday for military members and their families living in the Parris Island, Naval Hospital Beaufort, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Laurel Bay communities.