“National Night Out” draws good crowds
BY MIKE WARREN
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – An event that originated in Pittsburgh in the 1970’s, and went nationwide in 1984, returned to Wisconsin Rapids again this year. “National Night Out” was held Aug. 2, in the Crossview Church parking lot, near the 8th St. S/Riverview Expressway intersection.
“We’re one of 112 just in Wisconsin that’s doing it,” said organizer Eric Daven, a detective with the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department. “It’s always the first Tuesday in August. It’s kind of a…just build community relationship between law enforcement and the community. So we invite people out to see our equipment, to mingle with us, and we invite other community partners to be a part of it,” Daven added.
The event was hosted by the Wisconsin Rapids and Grand Rapids Police Departments, along with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department. Fire departments from Wisconsin Rapids and Grand Rapids were also there with their fleets of vehicles and equipment, along with Wood County K-9 officers, Wood County Rescue and Wood County Dispatch.
Daven said the event is aimed at giving residents a positive experience with the law enforcement and firefighting community. “Most people we see, we deal with them on their worst day,” he said. “We’re a part of the community, too. We all live in this community. We’re part of Wisconsin Rapids. So, we kind of want to build on those relationships, because we don’t know when we might need those relationships later. There might be a situation where we need to rely on them for help solving a crime, or reporting something to us.”
The event featured over 25 various agencies, community organizations and food vendors, including Wood County’s UW-Extension, iHeart Studio Face Painting, YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, Family Center, Mission Coffee, Purple Basil and Big Red’s Smokehouse. There was also a bounce house for kids and a dunk tank with officers inside.