On October 6th, the National Association of Town Watch organized the first annual National Night Out program in Precinct 3-4. Local first responders from law enforcement, the Riverton Fire District, and the local Emergency Medical Services were invited as was the surrounding community.
Representatives from the Riverton Police Department, the Fremont County Sherriff’s Offices, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol brought their vehicles and interacted with their neighbors at the Way of the Cross Church on South 2nd Street W. Phil and Blaine Stafford grilled burgers and hot dogs and served them with drinks and chips. Marilyn Jones and Lynda Smith brought delicious home-baked desserts. Mary Axthelm, R-Recreation Program Director at Central Wyoming College, provided an assortment of games. Pastor Mike Smith of Hillcrest Baptist loaned the tables and chairs for the event.
In general, the attending peace officers thought well of the event. “This is a great opportunity for us first responders to meet with the community and build positive relationship,” commented Brandon Brookover, Patrol Officer, Riverton Police Department.
“I think the National Night Out is a good idea,” added Trooper Nicholas Warren. “The Wyoming Highway Patrol already has a good reputation based on our service to the public. Events like this build on that by bringing us together with those we do not ordinarily meet in the course of our work.”
The local residents also had positive things to say. “We need to make the community aware of what our law enforcement officers really do for us,” said Loretta Heck. “They do not deserve the criticism that’s been the main message of recent protests. Their work is as necessary as it is dangerous.”
Scott Mueller, Pastor of the Christian Church of Riverton, added, “I think this is a great idea and hope it grows. I don’t see the same problems here that we see elsewhere in the news. Events like the National Night Out are an important part of maintaining the quality of life we currently enjoy in Wyoming. America has tried removing Christ from our society and we are seeing the consequences of that!”
The children had fun playing with the games provided and exploring the interesting law enforcement vehicles with their lights and sirens. Perhaps some of them may be encouraged to become first responders in their future careers.
In closing, two of the ladies from the church had parting comments. “It was a fun, family-friendly community event. I like this kind of positive support for our first responders,” said Marilyn Smith. Her friend, Lynda Smith, added, “After the negativity we’ve seen in the media, events like the National Night Out show the better side of the community. Our church is also here to serve our neighbors and show them the love of Christ.”
Everyone there agreed that they would like to see this again next year.
h/t Karl Falken for sharing the above press release and photos
Click here to learn more about the National Neighborhood Watch Program (NNWP).