“We want the community to come out and support the public safety professionals that are here, day in and day out, helping to protect the community,” said Deputy Chief, Pat Hoey of the Rockford Police Department
The event is called National Night Out and has around 38 million people involved through out the country. National Night Out is an initiative that works to reduce crime by hosting family friendly events that demonstrate police and fire department techniques and personnel, accompanied by food, music, and prizes.
Rockford Alderman Kevin Frost hopes the event can become an important piece of the community. “It is a great opportunity to have a good experience and meet some officers from the different municipalities”
The City of Rockford has been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in America and with reports of gunfire on a continuous climb, the focus of National Night Out and other programs is to curb the violence. Organizers say community involvement, and events like National Night Out, are the best way to send a message to criminals: that locals are standing up against neighborhood violence.
“Hopefully, working with different community groups and neighborhood associations will truly have a community approach to reducing crime in Rockford, and obviously around the country,” Alderman Frost says.
Those who attended the annual National Night Out event say the program helps them learn more about what the City of Rockford is doing to help bring down crime rates and make the city a safe place to live.
Rockford resident Jamie Irwin says of the event, “You get to see the police officers interact with people more and see that they are here to help people."