Northbrook holds National Night Out Tuesday
From left, Northbrook Police Supervisor for Community Relations Mike Shep, Community Relations Ofc. Dan Petka, Swim Lesson Coordinator Aneliese Van Spankeren and Sara Hanna, the Meadowhill Pool assistant manager, are working together to hold Northbrook Ni
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:07AM
Northbrook residents should mark their calendars for National Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Free hot dogs, McGruff the Crime Dog, pools and prizes will be on hand for families at Meadowhill Aquatic Center thanks to the Northbrook Police, the Northbrook Park District, and Village of Northbrook.
The free evening includes the use of the Meadowhill Aquatic Center, 1501 Maple Avenue, in Meadowhill Park.
It also includes free DJ entertainment, carnival games, giveaways and raffle prizes, as well as a dunk tank and free food as long as supplies last.
“A lot of towns have marches and parades through crime and drugs areas, but we don’t have a lot of street crime in Northbrook,” said Michael Shep, the Northbrook Police Department’s community relations supervisor.
“We have had picnics in the park, but three years ago we opted to have a pool party.”
Night Out, which is always the first Tuesday in August, usually draws about 1,000 people to the Northbrook event, he added.
“Everything is free, even the raffle tickets. We also have a dunk tank. Sometimes we get volunteers, sometimes members of the police department go in, and sometimes I even volunteer,” Shep said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to ask questions, maybe watch a K-9 demonstration.”
The Northbrook Police previously set up tables with displays and information, but discovered that not a lot of people stopped at them, so they stopped doing that, Shep said.
But Police Chief Charles Wernick and the deputies will be there, as well as a lot of other officers will, to meet and greet those who come.
“It’s a chance for us to get to know the people in the community and a chance for them to get to know us,” Shep said.
The event also is an enjoyable way to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention and neighborhood camaraderie, said Jeff Collier, assistant manager of athletics and aquatics for the Northbrook Park District.
“Families can meet their neighbors and the police who serve the community and share ideas about public safety. National Night Out represents the spirit and determination that can help make neighborhoods safer,” he added.
Supporting Night Out this year in Northbrook are: Vienna Meats, Elegance in Meats, Sunset Foods, Dairy Queen, Peerless Vending, Garden Fresh Market, Consumer Electronics Distributors, Inc., and the Target Store in Glenview, a national sponsor.
The National Night Out program is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit, crime prevention organization that works with crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
The program has four goals: to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals that the neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
It will be the “29th Annual National Night Out” across the nation, except for Texas, which will celebrate Oct. 2, according to the Town Warch website.
Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials in more than 15,000 communities and in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.
Counting them, more than 37 million people participated in National Night Out last year.