Join police in the National Night Out celebration

Police sometimes have to break up a party. But this week, they’re inviting you to one.

Hinsdale and Oak Brook police are hosting a National Night Out celebration at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Oak Brook’s Central Park West, 1500 Forest Gate Road.

National Night Out was introduced in August 1984 through an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation. The first National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states.

National Night Out is designed to make communities safer, more caring places to live by promoting partnerships between police and the communities they serve. Millions of neighbors across thousands of communities, including more than 125 towns in Illinois alone, will participate in the annual event this year.

“The best way to build a safer community is to know your neighbors and your surroundings,” U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison stated on the NNO website. “National Night Out triumphs over a culture that isolates us from each other and allows us to rediscover our own communities.”

The celebration here, which begins at 5 p.m. with the singing of the National Anthem, promises fun for all. A helicopter landing is scheduled for 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., with a K-9 demo from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.

Hinsdale police will take on Oak Brook officers and Oak Brook Park District staff in an ice cream relay at 6:45 p.m.

Kids can have their faces painted and visit a balloon animal artist from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Touch a Truck, a bouncy house, wagon rides, sack races and a hula hoop contest also are part of the fun. Food and a popcorn cart will provide munchies and McGruff the crime fighting dog will make an appearance.

The Oak Brook Park District will close out the evening with a showing of “Zootopia” at dusk after National Night Out activities have concluded.

As part of the community-building effort, food pantry donations will be collected for HCS Family Services in red bins at the event. Recommended donations are peanut butter, jelly or jam, ready-to-eat canned soup, canned tuna, canned chicken and hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal and rice cereal. Personal care items such as bar soap and body wash, along with dish soap and laundry detergent, also are in demand. Please make sure the “use by” date has not passed.

Hinsdale is fortunate to be a community that is not riddled by crime and that has a good relationship with its police department. Come out Tuesday to celebrate that — and to support our local police.