Public safety is focus

A block party atmosphere will provide a backdrop for the community to see beyond the badge of public safety during the ninth annual National Night Out and Back to School Bash from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday outside the Corpus Christi campus at North Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue North.

“It’s an informal opportunity for people to come together and visit with human service providers and law enforcement,” said Jamie Anderson, chairperson of the Webster County Cultural Diversity Team. “Most people don’t get to visit law enforcement without being in a position of crisis or trouble. This will be a nice, fun, relaxed atmosphere where they can interact and ask questions without any pressure or threat.”

Members of the Fort Dodge Police Department will be on hand to talk with parents and neighborhood residents about any concerns or to answer questions. Children will also be able to meet the school resource officers, giving them a chance to become more familiar with the officers and therefore be more likely to approach the officers if they have troubles or problems. Also, the officers will offer online and internet safety tips that both parents and children can benefit from knowing, Anderson said.

In addition, the Fort Dodge Fire Department will bring the smoke house to the event and provide children a chance for hands-on fire safety training. The department will also have the ladder truck on display. Representatives with the Unity Point-Trinity Regional Medical Center ambulance crew will also be there, along with the Community Health Center, Upper Des Moines Opportunity and a variety of other human service providers.

“Each of them will have their own displays and tables with games and information,” Anderson said.

Registered families will also be able to pick up backpacks with school supplies during the bash, she said, and if qualifying families haven’t yet signed up for school supplies, they can do so through Upper Des Moines Opportunity.

Entertainments such as plank-o and face painting will be offered, and popcorn and snow cones will be served during the festivities. The Iowa Army National Guard will have their climbing wall set up to challenge the children, as well. At the end of the evening, drawings will be held for three new bicycles donated for the event.

“We encourage the parents to be with their children when the drawings take place,” Anderson said. “It’s a family event and we want everyone to share in the fun and excitement.”