Police department adopted Middletown Goes Purple for its 2019 National Night Out Sept. 28.

Middletown Goes Purple conflicted with other activities in and around the MOT area, but it still had community members come to learn and share their stories about opioid addiction.

Carmen and Ronald Tuck were vendors for Mary Kay and the Citizen’s Police Academy, respectively. Despite what else was going on in the community, they said, it had great participation from community members and law enforcement.

“We didn’t have as many people as we would have liked, but for the time we were there, the participation of the people that did come was very good,” Ronald Tuck said. The Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area had Companions at the Campground, Main Street’s Fall Festival and Townsend’s fair.

Middletown Police Department’s “Go Purple” for 2019 National Night Out Sept. 28 was part of a statewide initiative to support opioid awareness and prevention.

Carmen Tuck said many attendees were willing to share their stories about how the opioid issue has affected them.

Robert Niczyporowicz, a community outreach specialist for the Drug Enforcement Administration, spoke about how the opioid issue hit him at home when his son died after overdosing on heroin less than two years ago.

Carmen Tuck said that presentations like the one Niczyporowicz gave engaged the attendees the most. Interactive activities from the Middletown police department, like the K-9 demonstration and Delaware State Police helicopter landing, kept the crowd’s interest.

The support from the police departments in Middletown and across the state — which included New Castle County, Wilmington and state police — was great turnout and they were involved with all the activities and vendors, she said.

“The people that did turn out were very supportive and very interactive with all the activities going on there,” Carmen Tuck said.

Sgt. Scott Saunders from Middletown said that days like this are what they do to show the community they are like everyone else. For example, police officers and other safety officials went in for line dancing with community members.

“We don’t just lock people up. We dance a little bit and we do things,” he said. “We are human beings. We go home to our families too.”

Saunders said the department might change the name in the future, but it will be the same concept: a pressing topic for citizens and police.

In previous years, they have focused on domestic violence, suicide prevention and drunk driving.

“We want to have a main theme, so we can really drive a point home on a main theme every year,” he said.

But he said topics can intertwine with each other and one issue can be the root cause of another.

“You can take a case of suicide and it could very well involve domestic violence and substance abuse,” Saunders said. He plans to coordinate scheduling with better next year.

“You want people to come out to an event like this,” he said. “We just have to find the best time to get the most people.”