Locals invited to National Night Out

Since 2004, Wapakoneta Police Department officials have been inviting members of the public to attend the National Night Out.
Scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Harmon Park Gazebo, this year’s event offers free refreshments — hot dogs, chips and cookies— child identification kits, bike helmets, pool passes and giveaways, including two bikes.
“We’re excited to be having it again,” Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock said. “It’s geared toward citizens coming out and showing their support against criminals and criminal activity. It’s a good opportunity for us to meet the public and to allow the citizens to talk with us and see some of the things we do. It’s a good way for them to see what we are all about.”
A K-9 demonstration is planned for 8 p.m. and the LifeFlight helicopter is expected to make a visit.
Everything is free while supplies last at the event sponsored by the Wapakoneta Police Department, Wapakoneta Fire and EMS departments and Wapakoneta Noon Optimist Club.
Described nationally as a block party, the evening’s events held throughout the country promote public safety.
National Night Out has been held annually for 28 years in more than 15,000 communities in all 50 states and other places throughout the world. It gives residents of local communities an opportunity to interact with police officers before something is wrong.
In addition to the city’s police and fire departments, representatives of law enforcement from throughout the county are expected to be on hand for the event.
According to information from the National Association of Town Watch, which sponsors the event, the night is meant as a unique crime and drug prevention effort designed to heighten awareness, generate support and participation in local anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Hunlock said there also would be time for officers to answer questions and address concerns from the public.
“We hope to see as many people as possible there,” Hunlock said.