After a two-year COVID hiatus, National Night Out returned to the neighborhoods of Berlin earlier this month.
While there was a celebration last year, local police departments opted for a centralized location and did not go into neighborhoods, instead collaborating with each other.
Community Relations Officer Joshua Smith said the department was happy to return to neighborhoods so they could listen to residents who preferred the smaller, more intimate celebration.
“Unfortunately we did miss two years and got some requests from our residents stating that they missed that close contact, being in their neighborhoods, so we switched from the centralized location back to different units into different neighborhoods. It was kind of by popular demand,” said Smith.
As with most National Night Out events, neighborhoods select block captains who are responsible for organizing food, entertainment and setup. Smith said to their delight, many of the block captains took it upon themselves to get large donations of food from local restaurants for the police and fire departments.
“I feel like we had a great turnout,” Smith noted. “We attended multiple neighborhoods, multiple parties. I thought that people were very receptive and appreciative.
“I can’t really think of any better way to connect with the residents than to basically show up at their front door.”
Police traveled to four different neighborhoods in Berlin, with two ambulances and two fire trucks accompanying them throughout the night. The vehicles were parked on the street, allowing children to see inside and pose for pictures with the emergency responders.
“We really just wanted to hit it home and had so many different areas of our emergency response team [paramedics, fire fighters, dispatch, etc] all at once,” Smith noted “This really allowed for people to see the quality of our care team, the quality of our product that these people [residents] are paying for on a yearly basis.
“The safety, care and happiness of our residents is always our top priority,”
In addition to equipment displays and photo opportunities, the officers played games, gave away prizes and ate and drank with residents throughout the night.
“It felt like your normal family 4th of July barbecue,” Smith said. “It was great.”