National Night Out brings community closer
With its largest crowd yet, Quincy’s version of National Night Out was a runaway hit, with children and grown-ups enjoying an evening of music, food, games and sunshine.
“It keeps getting better every year,” mayor Paul Worley said of the city’s eighth edition of National Night Out.
The event, organized by QPD, echoes similar Nights Out happening all over the nation during the month of August for the past 34 years.
These events seek to bring not just neighbors and residents closer to one another but also closer to the people charged with their protection.
“It helps neighbors get to know each other, because we have kind of stopped doing that as a society,” said QPD chief Kieth Siebert. “Anytime you break bread together is a good thing. It helps us say good-bye to crime and just be familiar with the people who live across the street or across town.”
It helps the police, too, Siebert said.
Children played in and around police cars, and both children and adults took turns hurling softballs at the dunk tank, while police staff, including the chief, took turns waiting for someone to hit the target and give them a splashy bath.
Chris Kottong, a Washington State Patrol trooper, said events like these make a difference.
“It’s always good to let people see us with a smile on our faces, when we are just hanging out and having fun, as opposed to maybe when something highly stressful is happening,” he said.
Siebert agreed, adding that it helps for people to see past the uniform.
“We are all human, doesn’t matter what we wear, we are all human on the inside,” he said.
In addition to law enforcement agencies, organizations like Big Bend Community College, the Quincy School District, and Grant County Fire District 3 also had booths at the event. QPD staff manned the hot dog grill and Lamb-Weston personnel manned the free French fries trailer.
Learning more about the different agencies always helps, said Quincy resident Jose Garcia, particularly if they can help during an emergency.
One such agency was the MACC, the Multi-Agency Communications Center, which handles 911 emergency calls for the county. Jackie Jones, director of MACC, wanted the people in attendance to know that it’s not just calls anymore.
“If you need to call us and you can’t talk because it’s a scary situation, you can text 911 for help,” she said. “It’s not available yet in all the counties, but we do it here in Grant County.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org