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Sioux City Celebrates National Night Out

It's National Night Out for communities all around the country and right here in Siouxland. Sioux City's been participating now for more than 15 years and officials say events like this help the whole community.
For one night out of the year, parts of Siouxland, like Sioux City's Cook Park, fill up with people celebrating National Night Out.

It's an event designed to connect the community with local law enforcement, something Sioux City Police say works.
"I think certainly trends across the country and certainly here in our own city show that the more people get to know their neighbors, the more likely they are to get involved and contact law enforcement when they see something suspicious, out of the ordinary," said Sioux City Police Crime Prevention Officer Chad Sheehan.

Police said the property and violent crime numbers over the years don't really demonstrate much of a change.  But how crime is reported and how comfortable the community is with law enforcement is something that's changing.

"The community policing philosophy in general has definitely made the public more comfortable with the police department. And this is just one example of the outreach programs that we're a part of," Officer Sheehan said.

Members of the Westside Coalition said for those living on Sioux City's west side, where there's been plenty of crime - including shootings over the last year - being comfortable with police is big.

That's something the Westside Coalition President said she's dealt with recently after a drive by shooting near her home.  It's a big part of why she wanted to get involved with the coalition and why she feels so comfortable with where she lives now.
"I think it is a safe town and you know, I feel comfortable at my house even though it did happen. The police department looked in to it, I got feedback from it and I think that's what it's about. Because now we know what officers are on our part of town. They know where we live, what things are happening and what to watch for," said Westside Coalition President Tiffany Leckband.

That's exactly why events like National Night Out are so popular. It's a great way to get to know your local law enforcement as well as members of the community. But it's also a whole lot of fun for the family, even get your face painted.

There's plenty for the whole family to do at events like this.  Cook Park's National Night Out event offers everything from a barbeque to a rock climbing wall, bounce houses and much more.

The kids here said it's a blast.
"It's really fun and it's really really really pretty," said three-year-old Alaya Barnes.

"Play," said seven-year-old Montana Auen, when asked what she was looking forward to doing.
"Doing the bouncy house," is what four-year-old Alexis Thompson said she was looking forward to.
"I did. On that one, I bounced like this high," Barnes agreed.

From police to the firefighters, kids to the parents, everyone was connecting and having a great time.  So much so that both myself and Sioux City Councilman Dan Moore had to get in on the fun.

And for everyone attending, National Night Out was an all around success.
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