Police Show Their Lighter Sides At National Night Out Events

Thursday, August 8, 2019 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Broadview Police officers toss beanbags during the department’s annual National Night Out celebrations on Aug. 6. | Shanel Romain

Police officers from Broadview and Maywood were out in force on Aug. 6 for the annual National Night Out — an international community-building campaign.

In Maywood, officers gathered at the park directly behind the police station, 125 S. 5th Ave., and congregated with residents. Some helped little children blow bubbles while others stood chatting.

In Broadview, the fun took place at Schroeder Park, 2600 S. 13th Ave., where residents were treated to free deep dish pizza.

Officers in both communities said that the night is what policing is all about.

“Commander Tom Kostka organizes our Night Out every year,” said Broadview Police Sgt. Pierre Smith said. “This is all about getting to know our residents a little better. Community policing is effective, because it shows our residents that we’re approachable.”

Smith added that the event also demonstrates the decency that’s within most police officers.

“We can also combat the myth about law enforcement that we’re all mean, corrupt and cruel,” he said. “This is a chance for us to show the lighter side of police, so that residents can open up to us and communicate with us more, and we can community with them a lot easier, as well.”

Area residents and police officers enjoy the sights and sounds during Broadview’s National Night Out festivities. | Shanel Romain

Oak Park businessman Siraj Bhanpuri, the owner of Broadview True Value Hardware, was among those in attendance at National Night Out. For the entrepreneur, the event was a chance to express support for Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson.

“This mayor is doing so much for the community,” he said. “She’s trying to bring small businesses together, because we have to survive somehow due to growing competition.”

Maywood Police Commander Theodore Yancy said that he hopes the village holds more events like National Night Out.

Maywood police officers hope that events similar to National Night Out happen throughout the year with more regularity. | Shanel Romain

“Moving forward, I would hope that we can do more of these events where we can get the community together—the police, the fire department and village officials,” he said. “We all have a lot to offer. The community has to come together to fight crime. We can’t do it by ourselves. The police is just one entity in this vast community.”

“It’s good we all can come out in the community have a good time,” said Maywood Police Sgt. Aaron Peppers. “There’s no violence, just everybody coming together as one. That’s what it’s all about.” VFP

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