Local law enforcement is inviting area residents to help keep communities safe by attending the annual Monroe County National Night Out Aug.1 at Tomah Recreation Park.
Tomah Police Chief Scott Holum says the event helps his officers, area law enforcement and Emergency Medical Services build relationships, which leads to safer communities. “It gives us an opportunity to reach out to the community and let them see us in a different light,” said Holum. “We’re human beings just like them and this is a job for us and it helps build relationships for us.”
Marking its 20th year, the annual safety and wellness event will be held Aug. 1 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Recreation Park in Tomah. There is no charge to attend the event.
Holum said residents have a role in protecting the community. “They can be vigilant,” said Holum. “We’re not everywhere and we can’t see everything so that’s part of the relationship building that we want, so when they see something let us know. If there’s something that they are seeing that doesn’t look right, reach out to us and provide us information that will help us do our job better.”
Holum singled out Tomah Police Officer Melanie Marshall for her work with the event since the first National Night Out. “She knows the procedures, knows how to set things up and has all the contacts. It’s done right and done well.” Marshall is part of a volunteer committee made up of area law enforcement agencies, staff from the City of Tomah and Tomah Health and area businesses that coordinate NNO.
Event organizers are asking people who attend the event to join this year’s theme by dressing as their favorite superhero. “Even though they may not consider themselves heroes; police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, first responders, and hospital staff are heroes in the jobs they do every day and that’s why we want to put them in the spotlight,” said Tomah Health marketing & public relations director Eric Prise. He said the event has been a great way to teach residents many topics. “More than 40 not for profit organizations will have various exhibits, informational booths and displays featuring nutrition, school bus safety, weather storm spotting, parenting tips, water safety, home electricity safety, seat belt use, boating safety, CPR and other subjects in a fun, interactive way,” he added.
Officials ask residents to park in the gravel lot along Butts Avenue and enter Recreation Park using the Monroe County Fair main entrance.
Children three to 15 years old can learn safety lessons for riding a bicycle during the Tomah Police Department’s Bike Safety Expo from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The expo will include safety tips and on-site bicycle licensing. Parents must be present, and children are reminded to have a bike and helmet. Prizes will be awarded after bicycle course stations close at 5:45 p.m. All stations must be completed to qualify for the drawings. Children must be present to win prizes. The first 300 children will receive a complimentary backpack with school supplies provided by Walmart of Tomah.
Monroe County’s Combined Tactical Unit will present a demonstration at 7 p.m. followed by a mock crash featuring area fire and rescue units. Food and refreshment sales will be available, and there will be children’s activities, including two bounce houses provided by Tomah Health.
Introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), National Night Out is a nonprofit, crime prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Locally, officials know it helps build relationships that create safe communities. Over the past years, the Monroe County NNO has been recognized by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) for outstanding participation In ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime.’