August 7, 2012 marked the 29th Annual National Night Out (NNO). NNO is a program created in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch as a means to strengthen awareness and participation from citizens in anti-crime efforts. Throughout the years, more and more people have become involved with NNO, and that includes the Portage Police Department.
“We want the people to know that we have a positive image,” said Sgt. Keith Hughes of the Portage PD. “We drew a good crowd and it lets people ask questions, and then see what we have to offer.”
There was quite a bit that was being offered that night. The Portage PD collaborated with the Portage Fire Department and set up shop in the parking lot of Willowcreek Middle School. There was finger printing for the kids, brochures and activity books, general safety and Neighborhood Watch information, and all of the officers as well as the firemen dressed for the occasion in their fine-looking uniforms. New equipment was on display like the Portage PD’s two new SUVs, other squad cars, a four-wheeler and the fire department’s gigantic fully-equip fire truck.
Chief of Police Troy Williams nodded toward the new SUVs, “The winters here are bad, and we had to borrow SUVs in the past. When people get stuck, it’s us that pull them out.” Then Williams spoke of the importance of an NNO event. “The police are approachable, and we care about the citizens.”
There are other ways for the public to interact with law enforcement, “There are back-to-school days for middle schoolers, a bike rodeo, fingerprinting and school resource officers.”
A school resource officer is an officer who works within the schools not only as a means to keep the students as well as faculty and staff safe, but as a resource for the kids. The officer is meant to be a positive role model for the children to look up to and speak with if a student has a problem or just wants to talk.
“There will be middle school resource officers going into Willowcreek and Fegely Middle Schools soon,” Sgt. Hughes said proudly.
To find out more about the Portage Police Department and Fire Department visit the City of Portage website, or “like” them on Facebook!