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Marysville's National Night Out goes into neighborhoods

 

Christopher Andersson

James Downing, left, and mother Brittney Ball, receive a fire helmet from Kelsey Fox, right, an accounting technician for the Marysville Fire District, during the 2016 National Night Out in Marysville on Aug. 2.

The City of Marysville's National Night Out this year was held in three separate neighborhoods as part of an effort to reach out to the community.

City officials and police officers participated in the annual national event on Aug. 2, and met with local residents to talk about the city at a casual event.

"The original intent of National Night Out was for neighborhoods and police to get together, and it was really sponsored by neighborhoods rather than being a city-sponsored event," said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith.

Getting police officers into three areas around the community, instead of one centralized event, was meant to help show people that police see themselves as part of the community.

"With everything going on in the country, I felt, and so did Gloria [Hirashima, chief administrative officer for the city] and the mayor, that it was important to change it up and get out into the community and into the neighborhoods," he said.

Smith hopes that National Night Out shows city neighborhoods that they're partners in the prevention of crime.

"In trying to deal with neighborhood issues, it is important to continue to improve our community and neighborhood livability, and you do that by working together," he said.

Local Brittney Ball came out to the event to show support for her community and to help get her kids familiar with police officers.

"I wanted to show the kids that police are good, despite what we see in the news," she said. "We want our kids to understand that they have someone safe to go to if they need to," she said.

Ball said she enjoyed the National Night Out event at Jennings Park and enjoyed getting to know her neighbors.

"Everyone's been nice out here," she said.

Smith said he likes National Night Out because he gets to meet members of the community.

"I just like getting out and seeing the kids," he said.

Christopher Andersson

Marysville police officer Derek Oates puts on a K9 unit demonstration at Jennings Park during the 2016 National Night Out in Marysville on Aug. 2.

He also appreciates the fact that local people are able to talk to police officers in a new context.

"Our officers always go out and handle problems, it seems like, so to just go out and talk with families is just different," he said.

Without being in a problem-solving situation, police officers get to act more like regular people, he said.

"They can see us differently, rather than just always in an authority position," he said.

Smith said he liked going to multiple different neighborhoods instead of holding one centralized event for National Night Out.

"I like this better than it being commercialized," he said.

Next year he hopes to continue with the new format and expand to more parts of the city.

"I can foresee next year having even a couple more neighborhoods," he said.

 

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