Stronger relationships between officers and community members create safer cities. That's what police say at different Rockford area events marking National Night Out.
It's easy to get caught up in the fun and the festivities during National Night Out. But it's important to remember the night isn't all about playing games.
"Letting people know that the neighborhoods are a part of the police department. They want to help the neighborhoods take control. That's what National Night Out really is about," said Fred Brechlin, CAP volunteer.
For 28 years local police and the folks they serve and protect have been gathering in the name of safety. Along with local neighborhood watch organizations regular, everyday citizens work towards better communities and stopping crime.
Even with all the fun and family friendly activities, those who take part in the night out know the underlying meaning.
"I also like to see everybody come and get to appreciate the cops," said Cara Canaday.
Other shared her feelings.
"It gets everybody out as a community and you get to meet your officers and find out who your local officers are and work together with them," said Melissa Huff.
For many, local officers are only faces in a squad car. Police brass say, giving a name to a face builds confidence and trust in their abilities and promotes cooperation.
"I think when you get people together like this and you interact with the police and with them, I think it's some type of a turn. And they give us a lot of feedback too on what they'd like to have us do," said Loves Park Police Chief Jim Puckett.
Many law enforcement and fire departments take part in the event with demonstrations and simulations in drunk driving, vehicle extrications, roll over accidents and junior firefighter competitions.
This year in Loves Park, React's helicopter stopped in for a tour.
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