CLINTON — More than 2,500 area residents attended Clinton’s second annual National Night Out on Sunday evening.
National Night Out is a crime-prevention event aimed at promoting police-community partnerships, safety and neighborhood unity. The event was hosted by the Clinton Citizen Police Academy Alumni and the Clinton Police Department and sponsored by area businesses. The theme of the event was “Neighbors Meeting Neighbors.”
Capt. Chuck Witt of the Clinton Police Department welcomed the audience to National Night Out and introduced Marcia and Kirsten Heeren, who sang the National Anthem. Mayor LaMetta Wynn thanked the Clinton Police Department and Citizen Police Academy Alumni for organizing the event and offered a special thank you to Witt for spearheading the event. Wynn encouraged citizens to visit the various information booths available throughout the grounds, as well as participate in the CPA.
“Who is here is important, but why we’re here is more important,” she said. “Our theme is the importance of crime prevention. We all need to know how to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe.”
Clinton Police Chief Brian Guy welcomed those attending the event and noted that the focus of the event was for neighbors to meet neighbors, departments to showcase their area of expertise and for city department heads and elected officials to meet and listen to citizens. Guy offered some statistics from the preliminary Uniform Crime Report for 2007 and remarked that nationwide violent crime is up 1.3 percent from 2005 to 2006. He said that Midwestern crime was up 2.1 percent.
“In order to combat crime on a local, national and global scale, it takes a cooperative effort. Citizen involvement is key,” said Guy. “Information is critical to the war on crime. Partner with the Clinton Police Department or your local law enforcement agency by reporting crime, suspicious activity or abuse. Please do your part to win the war on crime in Clinton, in Iowa and in these great United States.”
Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf thanked the crowd for participating in the event. He said it is a privilege for him to work on a daily basis with so many wonderful people who serve the community. Wolf noted that citizens who participate in the legal process contribute to the standard of justice in the community.
Witt pointed out the different activities throughout the grounds, remarking on the great entertainment lined up for the event and door prizes available. He asked those attending to keep in mind those who made the event possible by sponsoring the event and invited everyone to have a good time.
The celebration featured a variety of activities and events, including a Clinton LumberKings game at Alliant Energy Field against the Lansing Lugnuts, an evening open swim at the Clinton Municipal Pool and numerous activities in Riverview Park. Participants enjoyed free food and drink and games and rides for children. A variety of information was available from a wide range of local agencies and organizations including Bridgeview Community Health Center, Prevent Child Abuse Clinton County, Grandparents and Others United For Positive Changes and Seniors versus Crime.
Kohl’s hosted a cake walk and volunteers from Target offered facepainting to the children. Games included a fishing game offered by Thrivent Financial and volunteers with the Landlords Association hosted a duck pond.
Visits from McGruff the Crime Dog, “Harvey” the police robot, K-9 and search and rescue dogs and Atina the Clown were a highlight for many children, as were the four inflatable attractions including an obstacle course, maze, bungee walk and bouncing pit. Attendees were able to inspect various emergency vehicles including a Clinton Fire Department ladder truck and chief’s vehicle, a Clinton Police Department squad car and the CPD mobile command center, a Clinton Municipal Transit Administration bus, the Hazardous Entry and Approach Team vehicle, an Animal Control vehicle, a Water Pollution Control truck and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office rescue boat. Also at the event was a vehicle from the Quad City Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, handsomely decorated in red, white and blue, with an American bald eagle and the names of fallen Iowa police officers emblazoned on the hood.
Music at the celebration was provided by a local Disc Jockey and the River City Municipal Band performed many patriotic selections, as well as songs like “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis and “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.
Boy Scout Troop 642 not only provided cotton candy for the event, but helped clean the park grounds at the end of the evening.
Teresa Petro brought her four-year-old son, Tyler, to National Night Out. The family lives near St. Louis, Mo., but was in Clinton visiting relatives. She said they were having a great time at the event.
“This is great. This is really neat,” she said. “He’s having a lot of fun. He’s been through the jumpy things I don’t know how many times.”
Bonnie Coleman, of Fulton, said she enjoyed the event and especially the pony rides, music and good food. Coleman said a highlight of the evening was touring the various emergency vehicles.
Wynn said Clinton’s National Night Out was a positive event and it was gratifying to see so many people attend the festivities. She credited the businesses and organizations that sponsored the event and the many volunteers who participated for the evening’s success.
“We had a very good day today and I think we need to give so much credit to the people that put this together and made it possible,” Wynn said. “We’ve had a good crowd down here today and everyone seems to be having a good time.
Witt agreed the evening was a success and said the community really embraced celebrating National Night Out. He said he was pleased to see so many people attend the event and noted he received many positive responses from the public throughout the evening.