Children flock to see the the Coast Guard helicopter at Indian Head Park's National Night Out. (Photos by Carol McGowan)
Indian Head Park calls their first National Night Out a Success
By Carol McGowan
The Village of Indian Head Park jumped on the bandwagon last week with others in the area to take part in National Night Out 2023.
National Night Out, also known as America’s Night Out Against Crime, takes place on the first Tuesday in August.
It’s an annual nationwide event that’s meant to bring communities out to meet with law enforcement in their area to build partnerships between police and their community.
The goal is to support one another to in turn, support each other and work together to fight crime and promote safety.
The event was first held in the United States in suburban Philadelphia in 1984, and since then, towns big and small across the country have been joining in.
In Indian Head Park, the first ever there, and 40th NNO was held at Blackhawk Park.
“This was the first year participating in this unique crime prevention campaign funded partly by community partnerships. Those who assisted are to be recognized for their leadership in this annual event,” said Indian Head Park Police Officer Rob Verber, who was in charge of the inaugural campaign.
“The aim is to develop and build police-community partnerships, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and build a safer community,” said Verber.
Activities this year at the park included a business fair, refreshments, giveaways, entertainment, and much more. Many business groups and organizations participated in the Business Fair.More than 20 tables were set up for the business fair.
There were refreshments, music, face-painting, giveaways, and raffles in the business fair from 5-8 p.m.
There was an Antique Model A Ford display by the Salt Creek Model A Ford Club, Touch-A-Truck, a kids obstacle challenge, Dave diNaso’s Traveling World of Reptiles, and K9 and Kare 9 dogs for the community to see and pet.
There was plenty of excitement when not one, but two helicopters landed in the park. The first one, belonging to the Coast Guard started circling after 6 p.m. to land and was a big hit for all to see when it touched down.
Beginning at dusk, Walt Disney Pictures “Zootopia” was shown in the park in kids and adults got comfortable on their chairs and blankets with free popcorn and snow cones while they lasted.
In Burbank, police said, “Thank you for another successful National Night Out! We could not have done it without the support of the personnel from our Fire Department, Park District, City Hall, and all our volunteers.
“A special thank you to the businesses and sponsors who helped make our event, please feel free to tag yourselves and post photos of the event. We hope to see you all next year.”
Brookfield Country Financial Rep Kyle Huppe donated $1,500 to make the National Night Out possible.
“We’re fortunate to live in such a wonderful place and we have local police, firefighters and other first responders to thank for that,” said Huppe, who also is a director for the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce. “The last several years following the pandemic have demonstrated the importance of public gatherings to the fabric of small towns and communities. That’s why I’m pleased along with others to promote ‘National Night Out’ and all the positive focus it brings to those who give so much to our community.”
“We look forward to National Night Out every year,” said Interim Summit Police Chief Mel Ortiz. “It allows us to interact with our community on a more personal and relaxed manner.”
The family-focused event included food, giveaways and a K9 demonstration from the department’s newest member, K9 Bryan. There was also a bounce house and dunk tank where kids could play and have fun.
“The interaction with kids is what is most crucial to me,” Ortiz said. “I want kids to look at our officers as someone they can go to if they are in need of assistance, to get away from the fear that some parents instill by telling them that if they don’t begave the police will take them away. The youth of our community need to know that we are always here for them.”
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