(Riverton, WY) – The second annual National Night Out in Riverton happened on August 4th. Along with community members, local members of law enforcement, fire departments, EMS and Search and Rescue were invited to attend.
Officers from the Riverton Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper brought their vehicles and interacted with their neighbors at the Cornerstone Community Church.
Phil Stafford of Phil’s Hot Dog Stand grilled burgers and hot dogs and served them with drinks and chips. The food was purchased with a donation from Tyler Watson of State Farm. 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, according to organizers.
“The National Night Out is a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community of who we are and what we do in law enforcement,” commented Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Robert McConnell. “This is especially important now with so much negativity in the media.”
“I think this is a great idea,” added Patrol Officer Bhagya Nethicumara of the Riverton Police Department. “This gives us an opportunity to meet with the public when we are not having an emergency. It’s especially nice to be able to get to know the youth in a positive context.”
Local resident Ryan Selvig was familiar with the event from his former hometown.
“We moved here from Minneapolis where the National Night Out is a huge event that nearly every neighborhood participates in. Our family values a strong community. We want to see more people come out and get involved. There’s an exponential value in getting to know your neighbors!”
Frontier Ambulance representative Carol Harper set up an information booth at the event.
“I think the National Night Out is a great opportunity for our community and first responders to meet and get to know each other,” she said. “It’s exciting to think that we are participating in a nationwide event.”
The children had fun playing with the games provided and even playing with Trooper McConnell who was a good sport and brought WHP themed gifts for the children. The adults enjoyed good food and socializing too.
Organizers shared a special thanks to Pastor Ian McFarland and the congregation of Cornerstone Community Church who provided the facility for the event. Everyone there agreed that they would like to see this again next year.
These community-building events are organized by the National Association of Town Watch; their goal is to create safer communities. Riverton is one of eight cities in Wyoming that hosts this event which typically happens on the second Tuesday of August. Click here to learn more.