The East Moline Police Department has been involved with National Night Out Against Crime for about 20 years. When the department offered Moline Police the chance to join them Tuesday at Willow Springs Pool, the department readily jumped.
"We think, for one, it’s a great event,” said Moline Police Sgt. Andrew Raya. He said he also likes that Moline and East Moline will continue a growing partnership with the community and each other.
Tuesday's free event is planned 5-7 p.m. at Willow Springs Swimming Pool, 3010 Archer Drive, East Moline. In the future, he said, the two departments may alternate which city hosts the annual event.
"Over the past years, the relationship between Moline and East Moline (police) is just continuing to grow and get stronger," Raya said.
"There’s just been open communication with sharing information," he said. "Our CCU (SWAT) team is now East Moline and Moline Police Departments CCU (Crisis Containment Unit). So it just seemed things are going in that direction. So we might as well keep it going."
Susan Normolye, who heads up the Moline Bluffs Neighborhood Watch group, is happy to see the joint effort.
"I am hoping that more people feel comfortable talking with police officers and getting children involved early so they develop a rapport," she said.
Police are not the bad guys, she said.
On Tuesday, Moline Police will mainly help East Moline officers. Plans include K-9 and taser demonstrations, games, food, ice cream, a bounce house, a dunk tank, swimming and EMS, police and fire vehicles.
East Moline Police Sgt. Jeff Ramsey said he hopes Tuesday's crowd totals at least 200 as it did last year. He sees plenty of value in the event.
"It's really just to get together with the community, in a setting like that, and having fun" he said. "Give them a little insight on what we do, talking to them and hanging out with them."
His favorite part of the event, he said, is interacting with the kids.
"We have a lot of things for the kids," Ramsey said. "And the kids enjoy it every time I’ve gone.
"I love getting to hang out with the kids and (them) seeing us in that atmosphere instead of maybe driving by," he said. "They see us putting people in handcuffs all the time."
Ramsey said that Tuesday night's event teaches kids they can approach and talk to an officer any time.
"Just building that trust between us and the children,” he said.
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