FREE BIKE HELMETS … Every child who wanted a new bicycle helmet was given the choice of size and color by the Montpelier Police Department at the National Night Out event held on August 2, 2022. (PHOTOS BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
“National Night Out” is an annual community building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie,” according to the website natw.org.
It was begun in 1984 by the group National Association of Town Watch, who felt that something more was needed to draw communities and their police departments together.
This event has grown from 23 states to every state, with Ohio having 102 communities participating last year. Montpelier was one of those communities, and this year they joined in again for their second year.
A fun night was held in front of the Police Department on Empire St. Kids were invited to come on their bikes and enjoy a small bike course.
Lots of other things were available, all free, from a bouncy house, fair like games, a training obstacle course, a hotdog meal provided by the Rotary and Civil League, face painting and water-based tattoos, goody bags from a few other entities and the opportunity to meet and pet K-9 Officer Knox.
Chief Dan McGee was there as host along with Montpelier officers, welcoming everyone, visiting with individuals and families. Free cold water was being enjoyed by all as it was a hot evening.
Many took short breaks in the shade provided by the post office and the tree in the front yard, enjoying a cool breeze that blew through every now and then.
It was definitely a highlight when Knox and his trainer, Officer Chris Suydam, took some time to demonstrate his abilities to search and find.
A few children in the audience were given some special coins and asked to go hide them in the grass or on the street, while Knox was not looking.
When given orders to find them he did so quite quickly, getting a reward of his favorite ball to chew on as Officer Suydam pulled it around and played with him, all the while praising him for great work.
Knox also found a paint can with illegal drugs in it, amongst five cans all holding different things.
Montpelier residents who came out seemed to be really enjoying the opportunity to meet their community protectors and are likely to spread the word for next year.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com