'It takes a community': GRPD to host National Night Out block party

When it comes to creating partnerships between the community and law enforcement, Green River Police Department is committed to making positive connections.

While "National Night Out" has been celebrated in Green River for several years, this year's event will be even more focused on bringing everyone together with a block party for the whole community hosted by the GRPD at Expedition Island.

The block party will be Saturday and will include activities like Touch-A-Truck, agency presentations, a cook-off contest, food trucks, a food drive, a Best Dressed Jr. Officer Uniform contest, and more.

The City of Green River officially recognized August 12 as National Night Out with a proclamation at the August 1 council meeting.

"National Night Out is a nationally-recognized night to bring communities and law enforcement together to enhance relationships while bringing back a true sense of community," the proclamation states. "Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. . . . National Night Out provides a unique opportunity for the City of Green River to join forces with thousands of other communities across the country in promoting cooperative, police-community crime prevention efforts."

"We just basically want to get out there and be there available for people if they have questions or concerns, kind of being on that level where we can speak to them in a more casual environment," Jamie Green, the GRPD public relations officer, explained at the council meeting.

Green explained that in previous years, GRPD recognized National Night Out by encouraging citizens to host local block parties. Officers would stop by the parties to hang out, bring information, answer questions and participate in activities like cornhole or even face painting. GRPD would then give out trophies for best food and entertainment.

"We've had a lot of good block parties in the past," Green said.

One of the goals of hosting local block parties was to encourage neighbors to get to know each other and possibly form neighborhood watches or call lists in case of emergencies.

"This year we decided to do something a little different and kind of host it," Green explained.

This idea was kicked off last year, when Red White Buffalo hosted a block party downtown. The event drew a large crowd, with multiple law enforcement agencies getting involved and a variety of events and food trucks. This gave GRPD the thought of hosting the event themselves in order to bring even more people together.

"We hope you all come down and hang out with us," Green said.

The National Night Out block party will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 12, at Expedition Island. Touch-A-Truck will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Agency presentations from groups like the SWAT team, bomb squad, K9 unit, and more will be from 3 to 4 p.m. The cook-off contest judging will be at 5 p.m., with trophies and a gift certificate for the winners. GRPD partnered with local faith congregations for a Faith and Blue food drive, and there will be a booth set up to collect food and monetary donations that will be donated to the local food bank. The Best Dressed Jr. Officer Uniform contest will be open to kids as well as "fur babies." Kids can eat ice cream with officers for Cops and Cones and can participate in an obstacle course and other activities. There will also be a free raffle for some cornhole boards and other door prizes. Everyone is invited to come to the event, bring along chairs and yard games, and get to know each other.

The event is also sponsored and supported by local businesses. TATA Chemicals donated $1,000, Stellar Coffee is providing ice cream at cost, PMS Screen-printing donated shirts for volunteers, and Big Wood Boards gave a discount on the cornhole boards for the raffle. Other sponsors and supporters include the City of Green River, Bomgaar's, Walmart, and Deaky Girls Designs.

"Let's get together and celebrate," a GRPD press release added. "It takes a community to protect a community."


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