Residents will soon get the chance to attend a fun and lively event with a serious goal.
National Night Out, the annual anti-crime and pro-safety get-together, is from 4:30-7 p.m. on Aug. 2 at Windjammer Park.
“It’s a national campaign,” said Capt. Tony Slowik of the Oak Harbor police department. “It really is a community-law enforcement partner program.”
He said it’s designed to strengthen the community, open dialogue and break down barriers between citizens and first responders.
The Oak Harbor Police Department has been putting on National Night Out for about 20 years, according to Slowik. COVID-19 prevented the event from happening for a couple years. Last year was the first time back and the event is still smaller than it used to be.
“We’re just starting to build it up again,” he said.
In Oak Harbor, the police invite all other first responders and their support agencies to participate in the event.
“We’re trying to make it as interactive as possible,” Slowik said.
Participating organizations include the Island County Sheriff’s Office, local fire departments, NAS Whidbey, the Coast Guard, Island County Department of Emergency Management and other emergency personnel, civic groups, businesses and neighborhood organizations.
There will be booths and displays, as well as police cars and motorcycles, fire trucks and rescue boats for folks to check out.
The Oak Harbor Fire Department will be doing bicycle helmet fittings for kids. Island County Human Services Opioid Outreach will be giving away things like medicine lock boxes.
Sgt. Jennifer Gravel of the Oak Harbor police department will have a DUI awareness booth.
Kids will be able to wear “fatal vision” goggles that show different levels of intoxication. They will have to ride a pedal cart through an obstacle course, walk a straight line, or kick or throw a ball. The goggles demonstrate the loss of hand-eye coordination that occurs during intoxication and hopefully teach kids the importance of driving sober.
All are welcome to come to the free event. Slowik said he hopes as many people as possible will come.