DeKALB – Police from DeKalb, Sycamore, Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb Sherriff’s Office stood side-by-side Tuesday evening at the National Night Out event at the DeKalb Walmart.
It was a familiar feeling for DeKalb Police Cmdr. Steve Lekkas.
“We co-police with NIU every day. Sycamore comes to our events, and we go to theirs,” Lekkas said. “These are faces we all know well.”
The event is one that is mirrored nationwide so the communities can better know the faces of their local law enforcement, and so children can become more comfortable with their local first-responders.
“This event helps us connect,” Lekkas said. “Kids are a little hesitant at first, but once they start getting to touch the equipment, you know, they just become kids.”
The event centered on both public and personal safety. Visitors carried snowcones, bags of popcorn and hotdogs with them while they watched martial arts and police dog demonstrations.
Sheri Zimmer, a mother of three girls, ran the Damsel in Defense booth, advocating for “equipping women and children to deal with a dangerous world.”
When the event began, the mayors of both DeKalb and Sycamore stepped forward to offer their remarks. DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith reminded the community to be thankful for good neighbors, and he held a moment of silence for the victims of the shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
“We pray for a world of more civility for our diverse community,” Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang said of both cities. “We’ve all experienced fire, tragedy and heartache.”
This is the first time the National Night Out has been held at a local Walmart, and the first time Target and Walmart have worked together on it, said Kathy Guyer, who has volunteered at the events for seven years. She estimated that about 1,000 to 1,500 people would attend.
“It’s all about fun. It’s all about safety. Kids go home and demand a family safety plan,” said with a laugh. “People think parents bring the children, but it’s really the children who bring the parents. It’s a beautiful event.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle