Roanoke County Police Department hosted its National Night Out program on Tuesday night.

Dozens gathered at the Roanoke County Public Safety Building located at 5925 Cove Road.

Tuesday's event offered a free and family-friendly atmosphere as a part of a nationwide series of community gatherings to highlight crime prevention, promote partnerships between the police and the community, and foster fellowship between neighbors.

Organizers say events like this one helps give younger kids an understanding of what the job means to the community.

"We're people too and we're here to help them," said Roanoke County 911 dispatcher Beverly Orange. "No matter what they're doing we're here for them. No matter if its 911 or a normal police situation how they can call us, when they should call us, we encourage them to call us just know what number to call."

Families got the chance to ask questions and see some of the tools police use.

"This is one way that we can give back to the community and recognize all of the support that each of you give us throughout the year," Community Policing Coordinator Rick Crozier said.

National Night Out, "America's Night Out Against Crime," began in 1984 to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.