Photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department.
0813 National Night Out
Hoover Fire Inspector Ricky Linn has help demonstrating the proper way to use a fire extinguisher.
Imagine going up to police officers, firefighters, state troopers and SWAT team members and asking them about anything from fires to firearms and not looking suspicious.
On Aug. 6 from 6-9 p.m., National Night Out (NNO), a national, annual family event promoting safety awareness, will give people direct access to public safety officials.
“People can ask anything from how the SWAT team uses a bomb squad robot to analyze a bomb remotely [or] what it takes to be a police officer to tips on bicycle safety,” Capt. Jim Coker of the Hoover Police Department said.
But playing 20 Questions with law officials is not the only fun to have.
According to Coker, who has participated in Hoover’s NNO for several years in his 29-year span of working with the Hoover Police Department, there will be an assortment of booths and demonstrations from each participating safety department, including helicopter rides, motorcycle officers displaying their skills and a meet-and-greet with the police K9 Unit.
“We enjoy showing off to our citizens,” Coker said.
And they will perform. They will even let down their shields, metaphorically speaking.
“You get to see law enforcement in a different element,” said Nathan Hamblin, team leader at Hoover’s Super Target. “You see them laugh and smile in a natural environment, [and see them] in a positive light.”
The City of Hoover collaborated with Hoover’s Super Target to sponsor this fun, free event. NNO offers food and beverages, giveaways, musical entertainment by 102.5 The Bull and various activities such as moon bounces, a car show, a fireman rope descend and a dunking booth.
But diving deeper than a dunking booth, NNO is “about people getting involved with their community and the community getting involved with the people,” according to Hamblin, who has participated in NNO for five years, including two years in Hoover.
NNO seeks to encourage community participation in crime prevention activities, to promote police connections with their communities and to increase neighborhood camaraderie through a variety of exhibitions and simulations.
People are encouraged to bring the whole family and to not only learn about general safety tips, but to learn about how local safety officials strive to maintain a safe community.
“It’s a great opportunity to come out and participate,” Coker said. “It’s very much a family atmosphere.”
NNO was created in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a non-profit organization faithful to the advancement and elevation of numerous crime prevention programs.