National Night Out draws big crowds across suburbs
Officer Edwin Alva was joined by about 1,500 friends and neighbors who flooded Spring Street in downtown Elgin Tuesday in the largest of five National Night Out events organized by officers from the Elgin Police Department.
"This is just us coming together and showing the great things that Elgin does," he said. "This is a prime example of how strong our community is."
It was Alva's second time organizing a party on the street where he serves as a resident officer in the ROPE program. It's also about two blocks away from where he grew up.
"Me being from here, being a ROPE officer in this neighborhood really hits home," Alva said. "I'm loving it, being able to showcase my roots. This really shows how well we're connected with the community."
National Night Out, held every year on the first Tuesday in August, is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. This year National Night out is expected to involve close to 38 million people in more than 16,500 communities.
Alva organized the Spring Street event with the help of the nearby Salvation Army and local churches and businesses. Music thumped from both ends of the blocks-long party, with a DJ on the south end and bands on the north side. Partygoers danced in the street while kids enjoyed inflatables and face painting. Businesses and local organizations set up tables between booths giving out free food and drinks. The Gail Borden Public Library handed out more 250 free books.
State Rep. Anna Moeller chatted with folks at her tent, where staff members gave away candy to folks who answered basic government trivia.
"This is the great part of living in a community like this," Moeller said. "One of the things I love most about Elgin is that we are very neighborhood oriented and community oriented."
Scores of communities across the suburbs marked National Night Out on Tuesday.
A police honor guard opened the night's festivities at North School Park in Arlington Heights. Local businesses and organizations handed out information and prizes to visitors, who also were able to meet police dogs as well as dip their hands in white paint and leave their print on an Arlington Heights police truck.
The Vernon Hills Police Department held its event at Hartmann Park with a DJ, an inflatable playground, sand volleyball and lots of free food and drinks.
In Campton Hills, firefighters demonstrated how they free crash victims from wreckage. and a police dog named Kota subdued a well-padded "offender."