OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After missing out a year ago due to the pandemic, National Night Out made its return Tuesday night across the country. That includes across the metro area.
“We’re hitting about five or six different areas. I am going to hit about five or six myself,” Douglas County Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson said. “Let people know that we’re out here, we’re out and about.”
The event brings communities and organizations together to interact with law enforcement and first responders, along with each other, in a more relaxed environment.
“I always say that it’s law enforcement’s responsibility to put the public and law enforcements in spaces where they can have positive interactions,” Hudson said. “Here is the perfect opportunity, especially to connect with the kids. Play some football, have a water balloon fight, let them know that we are human. Please run to us, not from us.”
“National Night Out is really about helping to improve police and community relationships, but it’s also about showing the community that we can come together and do our part,” South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance president Kimara Snipe said.
This all coming after an incredibly challenging year for everyone.
“Crazy is a bad word, but it’s the only word that I can think of. I find shell casings on my doorstep, shootings have increased in my neighborhood, we have had three of them since last night. I think because of COVID, the social justice protest, everything involved – it has kind of been the perfect storm,” Snipe said. “Tonight is about helping increase those relationships by bringing the police here in a light where the kids can see them that is positive.“
“Last year was very challenging on the public and on law enforcement,” Hudson said. “Now it’s time to relax some, de-stress some, get out and love your neighbor.”
All the locations were full of fun, games, and conversations.
The Douglas County Health Department was at a few locations as well, providing vaccine shots to those who need it.
All of this with the sole focus of community safety and togetherness.
“This is great for the community and getting to know other people around here that live around here,” South Omaha resident Anthony Licon said. “Just meeting people out here, everyone is so friendly.”
“People want to get out and about, and for law enforcement, we want you to get out and know your neighbors, so you know what’s going on in your neighborhood,” Hudson said. “So you know when something is right and not right.”
“This is an opportunity to connect, and you will find that when you are able to connect with people and just have conversations, that you can break down a lot of barriers and walls by just doing that,” Snipe said.
Several locations were celebrating in Omaha, along with events in Bellevue, Papillion, and Council Bluffs.