The summer months can be draining for police officers with more calls for service and sometimes longer hours.
Seeing the community at National Night Out can serve as an antidote, community liaison officer Ryan Adkins said. This year’s annual event will be on Aug. 6 at Hometown U.S.A. Festival Park, adjacent to the police station, 111 Lincoln St.
“I see it and I kind of hear it from officers that it’s just kind of a way to rejuvenate the department,” he said. “It’s a big, positive reinforcement for the officers in the department to know that they’re supported and appreciated in that second wind of the year to finish strong.”
According to the National Night Out Website, the nationwide event is a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.”
VPD’s event will include safety booths, a demonstration from K-9 officer Drea, a Verona debut for the Department of Transportation’s “Smart Trainer” motorcycle simulator meant to promote bike safety. Fan favorites like a dunk tank with a seat reserved for the department’s officers, bounce house and face painting will also return.
Officials from the Department of Natural Resources, who have been on a hiatus from the Verona National Night Out event, will return to promote outdoor safety procedures, Adkins added.
There will also be an appearance from the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, which will bring its crime scene vehicle and do a demonstration of its drones and search techniques in a missing child situation, Adkins added.
The event will include free food, with a menu of pork roast, hot dogs, corn on the cob and frozen treats, an email from the city said.
Around 1,500-2,000 people attend the event each year, Adkins said. They don’t keep an official headcount, Adkins said, but each year they count the number of buns that get eaten and use that as a rough attendance estimate.
Adkins said the event is a good way for officers to positively interact with residents and let the community know how much the officers appreciate them.
“We never want to become complacent in thinking that people know we’re here to serve and protect, as corny as it may sound,” he said.
For more information, call the department at 845-7623.