by Brandon LaChance
Dwight Police Department Detective and School Liaison, Gary Beier, is always looking for opportunities to help improve the village. Whether it’s strengthening the inner core or expanding to make Dwight bigger and better, Beier regularly searches for ideas. He found another one with National Night Out, which DPD will host 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2. “We didn’t know it existed. I saw the Braidwood Police Department was doing it and that’s when I thought, ‘We should be doing this,’” said Beier, who is the lead organizer but has help from a volunteer committee. “It helps build good community partnership with not only the businesses but also with the citizens. I think that’s huge. “It offers heightened crime and drug prevention, generates support for the anti-crime efforts and strengthens police and community partnerships. We’ve done things in the past such as citizens police academies, but this is an event that when it came across, we thought it would be great for our community.
And fun…I hope.” The fun comes from a long list of activities and another sizeable list of demonstrations and educational information. DJ Buckeye, horse and carriage rides, bounce houses, ax throwing, car show, petting zoo, reptile hugs, and a sidewalk chalk contest will be available to add smiles, laughter, and excitement to the event. Demonstrations will be held by different organizations. The Pontiac Police Department will take its show to the sky as they will highlight drone and robot operations. Dwight Emergency Services will host Stop the Bleed, which is about how to assist someone with a serious injury while waiting for an ambulance or medics. Dwight’s K-9 Officer, Officer McKee, will show how dogs help police departments. The Dwight Fire Department will display how to properly use air bags and fire extinguishers, and the Grundy Co. Coroner’s Office will show Megan’s Story as Megan Bugg passed away from cancer after advocating and raising $1 million dollars for research. “Another piece of this is we are hoping to have local, county-wide groups there with information of services that they provide, which is always important for members of the community to know what services are available to them,” Beier said. “It’ll be both a fun time, but also an opportunity to educate people about some of the things we have as resources.” Besides activities, demonstrations, and getting to know the police department better, there is another benefit to attending. National Night Out doesn’t cost you a penny. “Everything is free. The goal of this program is to make it free for everybody,” Beier said. “I’ve been collecting donations and we’ve had great sponsorship. If there is anyone who would like to sponsor and help us out, I’d love for them to reach out (call the Dwight Police Department at 815-584-3132).”
Brandon LaChance is a journalist with The Paper. He can be reached at 815-876-7941, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @LaChanceWriter.