National Night Out 2016-08-02 357
Local News

National Night Out provides festive occasion for neighborliness

National Night Out in Homewood on Tuesday a bigger crowd and new features in addition to old favorites, and it gave residents a chance to mingle with local law enforcement officers. 

Youngsters and local police engage in a water
balloon toss game, a new addition to National 
Night Out this year.
(Photo by Quincy Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Terrence Boone, a special agent for Canadian National Railway, watched his partner, young Tony Nickolaou of Homewood, demonstrate his pitching windup.

  CN Special Agent Terrance
  Boone, left, greets his water
  balloon toss partner, Tony
(Photo by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)  

Boone admired the boy’s baseball technique, but then the two talked strategy for a game requiring a slightly different approach than fast balls: the water balloon toss at National Night Out in Homewood.

The game was an addition to the event this year, giving local police and youngsters a chance to work together, have fun — and get wet.


The event had a festival-like atmosphere with families from Homewood, Flossmoor and surrounding villages enjoying music and food on a warm summer evening in Irwin Park.

Deputy Police Chief Denise McGrath deemed the event a success.

“We have a great turnout. I think it’s more than last year,” she said. “Everybody seems to be having a good time.”

Amid the fun were opportunities to learn and to get involved. 

Police vehicles were on display, and local law enforcement officers mingled with the crowd to talk about their work and listen to residents’ questions and concerns.

Detective Tom Johnson had a table displaying the tools of his trade, including a range of methods for obtaining finger prints at a crime scene.

  Ava Nickerson of Olympia 
  Fields steps out of the 
  UCAN helicopter. The 
  helicopter’s visit is one of 
  the most popular features 
  of the event each year. 

  (Photo by Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)

Gary Dingle, vice president of the Chicago Far-South Suburban Branch of the NAACP, said he came to the event to discuss an issue with Homewood Police Chief Bill Alcott and was very impressed with the response he received and with the array of programs the department provides.

The Homewood Police Chief’s Advisory Committee had a table with information about the group and its mission. The police department is currently accepting applications from residents who wish to serve on the committee.

McGrath said the eight-member committee is in the process of being reconstituted. The department’s goal is to have representation from neighborhoods throughout the village, she said. 

The committee’s mission is to provide input to the chief and support the police department’s efforts to collaborate with the community and improve the quality of life in the village. 

The committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of January, April, July and October. Anyone interested in participating can send email to [email protected].

Photo gallery: 
Scenes from National Night Out 2016

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