PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac Police Department hosts National Night Out event

DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac’s Burke Park was filled with music, community members, police officers and firefighters Tuesday evening for an event meant to bridge the gap between community members and first responders.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Dowagiac Police Department hosted a National Night Out event for the community. The event was host to dance competitions, fingerprinting demonstrations, appearances from local elected officials, K-9 units and more.

Also during the event, the department announced the addition of its newest K-9, Cash.

Traditionally hosted on the first Tuesday in August, National Night Out is a national community-building campaign that aims to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement in an effort to bring back a sense of community.

“The goal of National Night Out is to bring the community together with police in a fun, community atmosphere,” said Michele Outlaw, administrative assistant for the Dowagiac Police Department.

Dowagiac’s first event was hosted in 2019 and was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first event was a success, exceeding its attendance goal by more than 100 people. This year, Outlaw hoped to see 250 guests at the event.

Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald said events like National Night Out are an important outreach tool for area police departments.

“It’s the best way for us to connect to our community,” he said. “Usually, every time our police or fire departments go to see someone, something bad is happening. This is an opportunity for us to get together for a couple of hours and just have fun, meet each other and enjoy each other’s time rather it happening when a tragedy or something bad has happened. This is a way for us to connect and show that we are just people like everyone else. It’s a good way to come together.”

True’s Towing was on hand as a co-host to provide road education.

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