Balloon tossing, pictures and helicopter visits and were just a few of the activities at Homewood's and Flossmoor's National Night Out events.
National Night Out serves as a way for residents and their respective police departments to interact and foster positive relationships within the community.
Flossmoor has hosted the event for four years annually, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. Some of the festivities that took place were a "fly-by" from the Chicago Police Department, police station tours, games and opportunities to take photos in various municipal vehicles.
This year, in addition to the police department, the fire and public works departments were in attendance, along with different community organizations with resources for residents.
Flossmoor Police Chief Tod Kamleiter says the addition of the public works department expands the event from just public safety to public service.
"This is an event that our officers look forward to every year. We look for any opportunity to have some positive interaction with people in the community," Kamleiter said.
In Flossmoor, the community got a surprise visit from one of the police helicopters. Members of the community played games and got to taste food from local vendors. Officers even got in on the fun by having a water balloon fight with each other.
"This is an opportunity for police to interact with the community in a more casual atmosphere and get to know each other in a non-stressful way," said Homewood Police Chief. "We missed last year because of COVID, but it was extra special to get everyone back together."
Homewood's event, held the same night in Irwin Park, also included the now-traditional water-ballooon toss game, plus a visit from a UCAN medical helicopter, a favorite of local kids.
More information about the national event can be found at natw.org.
Photos by Quinton R. Arthur (QA)/H-F Chronicle and Jim Gannon (JG)/provided.