URBANDALE, Iowa -- “Celebrating Community” is this year’s theme for National Night Out in Urbandale.
Officer Melissa Waalk said that she looks forward to National Night Out every year.
“It is really important and special to us. It is what keeps us going, so when the community reaches out to us we know that we have their trust and their support. It’s nice to know that,” Waalk said.
A variety of booths will be on site to educate people on how to make his or her community better.
“We have Big Brothers, Big Sisters, we will have the coalition for domestic violence, we will have the fire safety house there from Blake Children’s Hospital,” Waalk said
Children will receive and be sized for bike helmets to promote bike safety.
A new attraction this year will be a blackhawk helicopter. The helicopter will be at the event starting at five and children will be able to snap a picture with it.
Waalk said it is rewarding to see the support from the community.
“Seeing all of the families that come and have a positive comment about what they experienced. We have people who look forward to it every year, we’ll see them throughout the summer,” Waalk said.
One of the orginal organizers, Ben Buenzow said the first year only a few hundred showed up, and now around 3,500 people come out.
“It’s grown way bigger than I ever thought it would be, to be honest,” Buenzow said.
Buenzow emphasises how important it is for children to feel comfortable around police officers, and National Night Out does just that.
“It’s just neat to see not only the community members, but the kids get to interact with law enforcement, and see the cops and officers as good people and there to help. And not like the punishers and such. The parents that threaten their kids to say ‘I’ll call the cops’, well it’s not about that. You want the kids to not be afraid of the cops. You want the kids to be able to go out and interact and be willing to talk to those officers,” Buenzow said.
Urbandale’s National Night Out is from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Urbandale Police Department.
The event is free and open to the public.