Bemidji’s National Night Out Connects The Community With Law Enforcement
It’s the first Tuesday in August, and it’s time for a party. Thousands of cities across the nation are celebrating National Night Out, including Bemidji at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.
“It’s all about building community relationships between the people and the police and promoting peace and safety in our community,” said St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Pastor Aaron Nitz.
Local officials from the fire, police and sheriff’s departments made their presence known. The gathering also allows the community to meet law enforcement face-to-face on a non-confrontational level.
‘They are the people we represent; they’re the people we’re called to help; they’re the people we’re here to serve,” said Bemidji Police Department Community Service Officer Tabitha Carrigan.” “So it’s really important they know us on a personal level.”
For Officer Carrigan, it’s the moments shared with the young kids that she appreciates.
“It’s nice to know that they’re able to come talk to me, that we have a good relationship and they’re not scared of police, because that’s not what we’re looking for,” said Carrigan.
This is the third annual National Night Out shindig at St. Mark’s, and Amanda Nelson was also here last year. She’s with her family and enjoyed the free food, fun and entertainment, but says building those relationships with law enforcement is key.
“It’s always nice to see them out, get good publicity,” said Nelson. “Seeing them out here is nice to build relationships with these little ones.”
Amanda’s son, Alex Thobe, spoke with police officers and sat in the front seat of a squad car. He aspires to be a police officer one day because…
‘They help people,” said Thobe.
After enjoying live music and playing some games, it was time to get serious with safety. There was a canine demonstration with a dual-purpose dog trained to locate drugs and apprehend suspects.
“It’s really nice for us to come out here and show the community and all the different people that donated to make our dogs happen what our dogs do, how they’ve been trained and kind of give back to them,” said Beltrami County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Nohre.
These newfound police/community partnerships can help make the neighborhood safer for everyone.