On the north side of town at Zalud Park, the Porterville Police Department hosted National Night Out Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
NNO is an annual community building campaign that enhances police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
There were many people at the park having fun with their children, talking with officers from the California Highway Patrol, the Tulare County Sheriff’s office and Porterville Police Department, the Porterville Fire Department, and Porterville Animal Control.
Everyone was invited to enjoy barbecued hot dogs, chips, water and soda, and the PPD hosted games like the inter-department tug-of-wars with kids from the community, the famous donut eating contest, all to the tune of contemporary music.
PPD Community Service Officer Steve Walker said they had done the NNO for a while, and the police enjoy participating in the NNO as a way to get to know the community to help with information to help people be less likely to be a victim of a crime.
“NNO is just a fun community gathering for people to get to know us better. We’re going to have tug-of-war throughout the night, a donut eating contest where kids and officers have to eat donuts without using their hands. There will also be a canine demonstration, and Animal Control will be showing their dogs.”
Officer Anthony Holt explained to many interested people and children what his four-year-old Malinois Police Dog Jasper could do, and gave a dog handling demonstration, had Jasper fetch items he had children put their scent on, and then he had Jasper grab hold of another officer who had a padded arm protector on. He said Jasper loves working every day, and “I like working with dogs.”
Sean Roberts, Chief Paramedic of Imperial Ambulance said, “this is great because it lets the community meet their first responders in a non-emergency setting. It’s nice because we can meet in a non-stressful environment and see that we are real people, just like them.
Augie Gonzalez, Porterville Animal Control Supervisor said, “NNO is a great event. It brings the community out and offers a wealth of information from the various first responders and local community organizations. We are here to support the community and answer all their questions and we thank the PPD for inviting us out and hosting the event.”
For more information about National Night Out, visit https://natw.org.