Right on the heels of the wildly successful First Step Barbecue hosted by the Wichita Police Department and Black Lives Matter activists, it’s time for yet another event to bring police departments and their communities.
What is National Night Out?
National Night Out occurs on the first Tuesday in August each year. This national event serves to make communities across the country safer, better places to live by providing an annual opportunity for communities and their law enforcement officers to bond in a relaxed environment. National Night out activities can include block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and more. These activities vary by community.
Goddard's National Night Out
Now in its 33rd year, National Night Out is observed by more than 16,000 communities in America. Goddard, Kansas is one of those cities. Goddard celebrates the event from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in Linear Park this year. This year, the event will feature carnival games, a cookout with hotdogs and hamburgers, a big slip-n-slide, and free admission to the city pool. The Goddard Police Department invites families to enjoy the evening or free fun as a way to promote neighborhood camaraderie.
Wichita's National Night Out Alternative
The City of Wichita formerly participated in the annual event, but in 2011 opted to participate in an alternative Celebrate Safe Communities event in October instead. This decision was made in hopes that an October event would be better attended, as surveys revealed that excessive August heat proved to keep many from attending National Night Out.
The Wichita Police Department has made great strides in connecting with the community in recent months, through participating in events like Red Nose Day, the running man video challenge, and the First Step Barbecue.
According to Sgt. Nikki Woodrow of the WPD, the department is making an effort to engage the community through being silly and having fun at events like these.
“You're going to see more police officers having fun and really being humanized by doing silly things. It's absolutely exciting,” Sgt. Woodrow said.