Crime prevention block party set for Aug. 7 in Evart
EVART – Police officers and firemen can seem intimidating to children in emergency situations, but when a police officer hands a child a ticket to win a new bike, the intimidation is replaced with excitement.
Cultivating relationships between law enforcement and the community is what the General Federation of Women’s Clubs - Evart Women’s Club hopes to achieve by hosting the sixth annual National Night Out block party in Evart.
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on August 7 at Riverside Park and include activities, prizes, food and refreshments for all ages.
“When kids are in a panic situation and see somebody in a big suit, it can be scary for them,” said Therese Whitten, of the GFWC. “The idea (of this evening) is to strengthen bonds between the police department, fire department and the local community so (children) don’t look at them as the bad guys.”
National Night Out is community building campaign designed to heighten crime prevention awareness and strengthen neighborhood spirit in communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.
Last year, the event involved more than 37 million people in 15,325 communities, and 600 people in Evart. National Night Out 2012 is expected to be the largest ever.
“This is an event that started out in the parking lot in the depot and now we’ve grown to the point where we’re almost overflowing Riverside Park,” Whitten said.
Along with the GFWC and Evart Police Department, other community entities also will come together to promote community safety.
“The fire department will be there with a lot of their “toys,” Whitten said. “They will have their smoke house so kids can experience what it’s like to be in a house on fire.”
The Evart Masonic lodge will also provide an opportunity for children to create their own identification kit, including fingerprinting, voice recognition, a picture and DNA sample.
“It’s quite an extensive child ID kit if it is ever needed,” Whitten said.
Prizes including backpacks full of school supplies and a new bicycle, will be given away during the event. Children enter the drawing by approaching a police officer and asking for a ticket.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Department team also will be at the event with information about the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. Other organizations involved include the Moose, Masons, Lions, Osceola League of Arts and Humanities, WISE, and Eagle Village.
“We will be showcasing all sorts of services families might need in the community,” Whitten said. “It’s just a marvelous time and everything is free.”
Whitten would like to thank Evart Police Chief Zack Szakacs, Officer John Beam and Fire Chief Shane Helmer for their continued support for the event over the years.