Beginning in 1984, the National Night Out has become an annual event that reinforces positive relationships between law enforcement and the community members they serve. Across the country on the first Tuesday in August, residents attend block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and more all with their local Police Officers.
The Baldwin Police Department started celebrating National Night Out in 2015 making this year’s celebration the fifth annual event with lots of food, police demonstrations and other fun activities. One of those games making a comeback this year is the chance to throw Baldwin Police Chief Darren Krueger into a dunk tank.
“People definitely enjoyed dunking me the first year we started,” laughed Krueger, “we had one our first year, but we haven’t been able to get one the last few years because the agencies are renting them out for National Night Out in January and February – they just rent out that quickly, but we’re bringing it back this year.” Personnel from Baldwin EMS and United Fire and Rescue are also at risk of finding themselves in the dunk tank much to the joy of community members attending the National Night Out.
Other things to enjoy this year are a bounce house for kids, music and perhaps the most exciting event of the evening – a police K-9 demonstration. “That is probably what draws the biggest part of the crowd,” says Krueger, “we’ve been fortunate enough to have that since we started National Night Out in 2015. This year, St. Croix County Deputy Josh Stenseth will be accompanied by his K-9 partner, Roan, during four presentations during National Night Out with Baldwin included around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.
While this event is actually all fun and games, the overall intention of National Night Out is an important one. Many look to their local police in times of need, or encounter them in less than favorable circumstances which can often strain their opinions of the officers in their communities. National Night Out was created with the purpose of creating a meaningful relationship between police officers and the communities they serve, and Baldwin is no exception.
“I think overall it is a great way to see the public under good terms,” says Krueger, “and the way that the event has grown continuously over the years – it’s just nice to see more faces and more people. We have so many new faces moving into town all the time and it’s nice to meet your neighbors on a positive note and not meet them for the first time when they need us for something. That’s ultimately what we want; we want that positive relationship to be there.”
Baldwin Police Department’s National Night Out will be held on August 6 at Millpond Park from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and all are invited in the Baldwin community to join for food, games and fun.