MARSTON SCHER/CHRONICLE PHOTOChildren meet K9 Billy during Tuesday night’s gathering supporting public safety, sponsored by the LCSO.

CRESWELL – Public safety and community melded together on Tuesday, Aug. 3, as National Night Out events were organized for Creswell and Springfield cities by its police and fire personnel. 

“We love to do this, we love to come out, hang out and talk to people,” Lane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Denham said. “High-five kids and get a dunk tank, and just show that we’re human, we’re the same as everybody else, we just put on a uniform and have a job.”

The event, organized by public safety leaders as a “community building campaign” to connect police and emergency personnel to its residents, encourage neighborhood camaraderie, and bring all parties together under “positive circumstances.”  This long-standing, nationwide event is an attempt by the National Crime Prevention Council to demonstrate that police officers are just people in your community who have a job to do like everybody else.

In Creswell, the event at Holt Park featured free hot dogs through Sanipac’s University of Oregon-themed “Duck truck,” a sanitation vehicle repurposed with a kitchen for use at community events. New Hope Baptist Church provided free cookies that were baked onsite in a portable oven.

In Springfield, National Night Out events sprung up at Meadow, Jesse Main and Volunteer parks and celebrated with potlucks, barbecues and ice cream socials. 

Springfield police “party patrollers,” including K9 team members and police in patrol cars, visited each site and participated in games and giveaways. 

“National Night Out is a national program that basically brings law enforcement or community together just so we can show who we are,” Denham said. “Show that we are the good guys, and that we have a community relationship just in this kind of environment where we can bring in some of our community safety partners, people that a lot of people don’t know about the hope and safety Alliance, the city, neighborhood watch the Humane Society. 

“All of these are all public safety services that are available for the citizens of the principal community. A lot of people don’t know about. So our goal this year was to bring those services together and that people can actually talk to people learn what those are, or how they can take advantage of the turnout for those guys.”

Reporters Ron Hartman and Marston Scher contributed to this reeport.