Eagan mayor asks residents to make neighbors feel welcome, safe

Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire made an emotional plea to connect to the true spirit of National Night Out during Monday’s City Council meeting, the day before National Night Out.

He pulled the item recognizing Aug. 6, 2019, as National Night Out in Eagan off the consent agenda to ask residents to make their neighbors feel welcome.

“I’m going to ask you to think about the communities in this country and in this community that don’t feel safe today,” Maguire said.

He asked residents not to turn away from tough issues such as race.

“Tell somebody they’re safe in this community, that you want them in this community,” Maguire said. “It doesn’t make a difference what skin color they are, what god they pray to or what political party they believe in.”

Eagan had about 214 registered National Night Out parties Tuesday, he said. The police and fire departments were scheduled to visit the gatherings.

Eagan first started participating in National Night Out in 1998 with about 20 neighborhoods. It’s grown every year since to more than 200 annually.

“The idea is to build a relationship in our community and our public safety officers,” Maguire said. “We know that we are a safer community if we are connected to one another.”

According to the Police Department, National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for and participation in anti-crime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Maguire reflected briefly on the June 16 council meeting, where several people shared concerns about the officer-involved shooting of Isak Aden July 2 and asked to have the evidence released.

“Agree or disagree about their assertions about the city of Eagan and our police, we heard a lot in that meeting in that hour and a half,” Maguire said. “We heard from a community of people who don’t feel safe and don’t feel protected.

“And that’s very real.”

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