Police interact with residents on National Night Out

Annual event returns for the first time since 2019

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun
Maddison Bilinksi, 3, throws a ball in an attempt to drop Medford fire department member Cliff Rickards into the water at the seventh annual National Night Out on Aug. 7.

It had been three years since Medford police last hosted their annual National Night Out event at Freedom Park.

Thanks to COVID, that was in 2019. The prolonged absence of an event that gives communities and police a crucial opportunity to meet one another and speak as equals was greatly missed, according to Police Chief Arthur Waterman. 

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As other events made their return after COVID, Waterman looked forward to once again holding National Night Out, which it did on Aug. 2.

“It’s really great to see the community and the businesses come back out and bring this event back to life,” the chief said. “This relationship is vital to our success really. It helps us be able to work together with the community to solve problems. 

“It’s a collaborative partnership between the police department and the community to make our community a safe place to live.” 

The free event included several displays of police, fire and EMS equipment for residents young and old, as well as games, activities and demonstrations throughout the evening.

“We’re here to educate people on our capabilities and what services they have available to them through our department,” Waterman noted. “An event like this hopefully helps take away that fear that people might have of the police. We want to make the police more approachable, more human. 

“We’re just like everyone else trying to do a job and provide a service to the community.”

Officer Kendall Kiernan coordinated this year’s National Night Out after doing so in 2019. Her department’s recent increase in community events over the last year has helped to open the door for more open and honest communication between officers and residents. It’s something Kiernan said she values about National Night Out. 

“It’s an awesome way for us to meet our community in a big setting like this and have us interact together in a fun way,” she said. “We get to have that conversation and have us all understand that we’re also part of the community.

“We’re an open book and look forward to speaking with everyone we can.”

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