Building relationships and making neighborhoods safer. That was the goal of this week's National Night Out, which brought hundreds out to local parks to meet with police and have a little fun.
National Night Out is celebrated annually on the first Tuesday in August. The community-building campaign that promotes police and community partnerships started in 1984 with 400 communities in 23 states. Since then, the event has grown to millions of participants in thousands of communities.
The night provides an opportunity to bring police and community members together under positive circumstances.
At Minooka's Lions Park, dozens of families came out for free games, music, train rides, and a bounce house, as well as hot dogs, refreshments and snow cones.
"It's a time to get out, get together, and hopefully create some community bonds," Minooka Sgt. Matthew Chinski said. "It's a good chance for the community to get out here and interact with the police. That way it's not always us showing up because there's been some type of disturbance or a call for something."
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, stopped by the event in Minooka on Tuesday. In addition to tossing a baseball at Police Chief Justin Meyer in the dunk tank, Kinzinger visited with local elected leaders, law enforcement and families. He said the night is a great way to bring folks together.
In addition to law enforcement from municipal and county police department, National Night Out also featured local fire departments and emergency management agencies. Learn about National Night Out and related activities online at natw.org.