It was hard not to notice the set up of tents, tables, ice chests and even a wheel of fortune near the Fair Park pool this evening, as area companies and the city and county police departments took up the chance to get to know Hope residents, especially children, on a late summer evening. Naturally, many also took advantage of free swimming.
Hope City Police officers were present, many in uniform, many assisting in the serving of hot dogs and the gathering and serving of cotton candy. Laura Haynie, Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police explained the purpose of the night’s gathering, “It happens across the United States. This is an opportunity for us to meet with the kids and let them interact with the police officers.”
Hope officer Matthew Whitney said the evening is “mostly for the community, just trying to provide a fun habitat. Kind of get people to know what law enforcement is about, what we do.”
Suzie Barham, Pafford Public Relations Director, stood at her company’s table, dispensing punch, water and mystery bags to local youngsters. She said the National Night Out is a valuable means of instructing children. “It kind of gives them the opportunity to to get to know our law enforcement officers, and how how we cooperate with each other.”
At the Diamond Bank table, many employees were giving out beverages to all comers and hosting a wheel of fortune game. Prizes, like company caps, pens, drink cozies, facemasks and the like were on display. Tanya Alvarado, who works in Business Development and Customer Service at the bank, could be seen urging on one young man who spun the wheel and walked away with a cozy.
AMI Radio and Marketing Group’s Anna Pink, who hosts a morning radio show on 95.1 The River and works as AMI’s Digital Director, was furnishing Dorito’s, Lay’s Barbecue Chips and water at the Group’s table. She said it was gratifying to see the turnout and to “watch the community come together and spend some good time.”
Hope PD School Resource Officer Hunter Halliday summed up the evening’s purpose. “It’s showing people that we’re human too. But we’re not special. We’re just we’re average people. We’ve got our kids out here. We bring our families, and we want people to know they can run to us instead of having to run away from us.” he said.
The event started at 5:00 p.m. and will continue until 8:00.