National Night Out is always a good time. You get to go out and see the community gather in hopes to work together on crime prevention. Though, we do something a little extra special in Harrisonburg. We not only have police out and about, but city council members, the fire department, Safe Kids, Emergency Communications Center, and public information officers.
The children (and adults!) get to meet these folks while not in a stressful situation so they know they can trust them if things get a little tough. The interaction between officers and the youth has the most impact on me. In some neighborhoods you are taught to hate the police. But how can you hate a couple of guys that play basketball with you? I just love being an observer, but I also get to interact a bit as well.
My role is with Safe Kids, so I get to talk to the kids about smoke alarms and fire plans. Simple but life-saving topics. The bonus is that I get to ride a city bus with a bunch of awesome people. I love getting to know new-to-me officers and talking with city council. I consider some of these people my friends, and I find it comforting to know them.
Below is a picture I get every year, it started by accident when I got the same picture two years in a row with the same people. The front three officers are Hoover, Cline, and Bernard. The back two I haven’t met but are JMU officers, we just got them in on the picture this time! We are missing Pollard and Sellers in this one, but maybe next year we’ll get everyone back in!
Photos from National Night Out by Jetta Earhart (Animal Control)
More photos by Wanda Willis (Harrisonburg Fire Department)