Hundreds of people turned out at the Milton police headquarters last night to celebrate “National Night Out," the fourth year in a row the town has participated in the nationwide event.
National Night Out is aimed at promoting crime and drug prevention and awareness and to strengthen the community’s relationship with its police department.
Milton Police Chief Richard G. Wells Jr. said the night is a way to recognize the men and women who serve on the force and to allow residents to see the work police officers do every day to protect the community.
He said it is also a way for youngsters to interact with police officers in a positive way.
“With kids, especially in the teenage years, we don’t come to your birthday party, we don’t come to your wedding, we usually come on a bad day,” he said.
Wells said it is important for youths, and adults, to have a positive one-on-one relationship with police officers.
He said these relationships might lead residents to pick up the phone and call the station when they see something suspicious going on.
“People should realize we’re here to help,” he said.
Wells said the Police Department participated in National Night Out in the 1990s, but stopped holding the event. He said when he became police chief four years ago, bringing back the event was something he pushed for.
Those who attend are able to tour vehicles like the department’s marine unit motor boat, the SWAT vehicle that is shared by the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, an old-fashioned fire truck, police motorcycles, and a Fallon ambulance.
Mary Craig, of Milton, said she brought her 4-year-old son, Charlie, to the event because he is interested in fire engines and this was a chance for him to interact with the vehicles.
“All of these untouchables are finally touchable,” Craig said.
Christine Griffin, of Milton, said she brought her 5-year-old son, Thomas, to the open house so he could learn about safety.
“It’s important to know what [police officers] do for us and how they help us,” said Griffin.
She also said he was fascinated with each vehicle he saw and in how it worked.
Participants were also treated to activities like airbrush tattoos, bouncy castles, slides, food, and drinks.
Sarah Favot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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