Frankfort’s National Night Out seeks to bond community, law enforcement
Residents, community members and law enforcement officials celebrated partnerships at Frankfort’s 10th annual Night Out Against Crime held Aug. 1 at Briedert Green Park.
The event is derived from National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
“This is just to establish community partnerships with different organizations and businesses, but most importantly with our residents and community members,” said Leanne Bender, the Frankfort Police Department’s crime prevention officer. “This gives everyone a really relaxed, fun environment to come up to all the police officers that are here and get to know us and ask us questions.”
New to the event, the Will County Sherriff’s Office set up its “Hidden in Plain Sight” trailer to educate the community on teenage drug use.
Members of the Frankfort Fire Protection District also organized an extrication demonstration to simulate how they remove a passenger from a vehicle after a crash.
Bender said she thinks the event does a wonderful job of bringing the community together.
“You’ll see people of all ages,” she said. “You’ll see older adults, you’ll see young kids [and you’ll see] some teenagers running around. I really do think it brings the community together. And, all the organizations and business that sponsor this event, I mean there’s tons of them, so they’re kind of all coming together, partnering up with the police, and it’s an opportunity for them to showcase their organizations.”
From hot dogs and snow cones to freeze pops and mini doughnuts, the event offered a plethora of good eats.
As for entertainment, Night Out Against Crime offered the community an opportunity to enjoy kids’ games, music and the Touch-A-Truck program.
Mike Portwood, of New Lenox, said he and his sons have attended Night Out Against Crime the past several years, and they were enjoying it.
“It’s beautiful, warm evening,” he said. “It’s great to see as many as kids as there are.”
Portwood said he thinks the event does a great job of introducing children to police officers and the work they perform.
“I think there’s a lot of misconception about who cops are and sometimes a lot of negativity is passed around,” he said. “For them to see that police are real people and that they are invested in the community is a positive thing.”
Elsewhere on Elwood Street, Night Out Against Crime featured a shred event to help prevent residents from falling victim to identity theft.
Bender said the event plays an important role in bringing together the police, residents and other community members to help keep the community safe.
The Frankfort Police Department often receives tips from people who can provide assistance to help fight crime.
“We know that there are only so many police officers in any town, and we can’t be everywhere at once,” she said. “We need community members to tell us what’s going on in their neighborhood, to feel comfortable to call us if they hear something suspicious or know something suspicious. We need them to be willing to ask us questions or tell us about things, and really getting to know us on this level and hosting events like this, we feel is the best way to do it.”
Bender wanted to thank the many organizations and businesses that played a part in making Night Out Against Crime possible.
“Just like police work, we can’t do it alone,” she said. “We need the whole town to help us with this. They really do.”