BOWIE – Residents united with Bowie Police Department officers for a successful and interactive National Night Out at Allen Pond Park.
On August 4, Bowie residents joined their city officers in fun and laughter while enjoying the exciting event with their families and neighbors. The annual event is designed to strengthen communities by building stronger relationships between neighbors and their local law enforcement partners.
Bowie Police Sgt. Bennie Henderson organized Bowie’s National Night Out event and said this year’s activities were even more exciting than previous years.
“The best part about this event is partnering with the community and letting them see us apart from answering calls and pulling traffic,” Henderson said. “The residents see us having fun while jumping on the moon bounce and participating in different interactive games. It is important for the community to see us as human beings and know that we are here as a partnership. Not to come in as a force.”
Henderson stressed that the event was about the community knowing the police are here to work for them.
“The main goal of this event is to promote unity and show that the community and police department can work together to have fun and solve crimes,” Henderson said.
Bowie Police Chief John Nesky said Sgt. Henderson changed up some things from last year by including more activities for the kids.
“We usually promote that we are giving out crime information, but people aren’t going to be rushing out their front door for that kind of stuff,” Nesky said. “Our promotional tactic was to tell everyone in the community this is a free family event with tons of stuff for kids to do. That way the kids drag their parents here, we give them crime information, and everyone wins.”
Nesky said the event was “very well received by the community.” He was proud to see different officers laughing, talking and building relationships with the local residents they had never met before. Many of the local officers had residents approach them to commend the department on doing a great job patrolling the neighborhoods and following up on previously mentioned issues.
“National Night Out is a great way for many of the community members to meet us,” Nesky said. “We find that a lot of the issues in other cities occur as a result of residents not knowing their police department ahead of time. At events like this, residents are able to interact with officers ahead of time versus waiting for a crisis to happen to meet each other for the first time.”
Nesky had his fill of water at the dunk tank located by the park’s playground. Children and teens eagerly lined up for two attempts to dunk Nesky.
“After being in the dunk tank, every year I get up a little bit slower,” Nesky joked. “Everyone kept asking when I was going to be in the dunk tank. It’s a great theme to add to the event because people can’t wait to get me in there.”
Many businesses and vendors came out to support the event and also provided various activities for the children.
“Jump for Youngsters Moon Bounce and Entertainment provided the dunk tank and all of the moon bounce activities including The Eliminator, which I was actually on earlier with some other officers and it was so much fun,” Henderson said. “Bubbles Production provided the face painting and party characters. Texas Roadhouse provided hot dogs and peanuts. Target provided water and the public safety committee provided ice pops.”
Bowie residents Stephanie Brister and her daughter Dejana Demby said this was their first time attending the National Night Out in Bowie and were glad to see a large amount of police presence at the event.
“My daughter is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds and different tables,” Brister said. “There are so many different activities so she’s all over the place. I can’t wait to post these pictures of my daughter sitting on the motorcycle with the police officer. I hope to get more photos of her having fun with other officers. She watches the news with us sometimes and the photos will help her know that this is the way police officers are supposed to be.”