SIDNEY — Area residents filled the north side of courtsquare in downtown Sidney to enjoy National Night Out Tuesday, Aug. 2. Several activities were available to help people enjoy their time at the event.
National Night Out began in 1984 as a way for people all over the United States to have a chance to meet their neighbors and their local law enforcement. The purpose was to help people to begin to look out for each other and to feel more comfortable with the police officers in their area. It is believed that such events will reduce crime. This is Sidney’s second year participating.
This year’s event was organized by Amy Breinich , director of the Downtown Business Association, and Mike McRill, Sidney police officer.
“We (Sidney Police Department) have a booth set up with fingerprint and DNA collection materials for parents. It’s a child identification kit and one of those things I never hope to use,” said McRill, “but if we’re in a situation where we do need it, it’s invaluable. I give it back to the parents and then they return it to us if the child is ever missing and we need that type of information. Then, we have information about the heroin support groups for families, internet safety, and identity theft. We also have gun locks that we are giving out.
Several groups and agencies participated in the event. Included were Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Western Ohio Psychological Services, Amos Memorial Library, NW Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, Downtown Sidney, Connection Point Church of God, Shelby County Sheriffs, Safe Haven, Shelby County Historical Society, National Cash Advance, Sidney Police Department, Ohio State Patrol, Tri-County Board, Kid’s Learning Place, and the Shelby County Sheriffs.
There were games for the children, a police car and fire truck for them to get in, a fire hose to spray-with the help of a firefighter. Children were everywhere carrying their booty from the various booths set up, and parents were catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances.
“It’s important to reach out. In my role as Community Resource Officer, I get to do things like this all the time. The other officers don’t get to do that. This allows people to see the officers in another situation. It’s good for the officers to get to interact with the people in a positive way. Nobody’s fighting or pushing. Everybody’s smiling,” said McRill.
Western Ohio Psychological Services had a table where they helped the children to make stress balls and write notes thanking the police and fire officers.
“Being a downtown business owner, trying to get more businesses downtown, and with everything that has happened recently with police in other communities, we took part in this because it promotes community togetherness,” said Dr. Jackie Allen.
Connection Point Church of God offered children’s games and free hot dogs for everyone. They participated last year and noticed that there was no food. They decided to take care of that this year.
“We love being part of the community. We love being involved. We love serving. That’s partly what we’re about. I had more volunteers than I needed this year, so we added a couple of games to the food,” said Pastor Alan Leach.