Hastings Deputy Police Chief Dale Boulter asks everyone who plans to attend the first Night Out Aug. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Tyden Park to spread the word about the event, inviting everyone in the city and Barry County.
In planning since February, Boulter updated the Hastings City Council Monday, saying that the organizers are very excited about hosting the evening. Free food, 2,000 hot dogs have been purchased to hand out to visitors, prizes, games, a dunk tank, a free raffle and a bounce house are some of the attractions.
Hastings police officers, Barry County Sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State troopers, area fire department firefighters and ambulance service personnel will bring their equipment and demonstrate what they do. “The night is for them to show people the firefighters and police who are on call for them every day,” Boulter said. The “hopefully” annual event will build on the police-community partnership, and let the people meet and talk to emergency services personnel in a casual setting.
Bolter said he has several slots open in the dunk tank schedule and is looking for volunteers from the city council to take 10 minute turns in the tank to, so far, a lukewarm response from council members.
Parking will be eased by Barry County Transit buses that will shuttle people to and from various spots around town, including city parking lots.
Other community outreach organizations that provide resources for residents, like the Barry County United Way and Green Gables will also be there. Boulter is credited with the original idea; a committee made up of Boulter, Officer Kendra Backing and Sgt. Kris Miller, Secretary Anne Lockman and Chief Jeff Pratt did the planning.
On the national level, the event is always held the first Tuesday in August, promoting a sense of community, positive public relations, safety and trust.