Community members play a hoola hoops game refereed by the DJ at National Night Out in Irwin Park. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Entertainment, Local News

Community members enjoy games with police officers at Homewood’s National Night Out

Community members gathered in Irwin Park to meet and greet the Homewood police officers, see their equipment and play a water balloon game with them. The event was part of the National Night Out, which Homewood police officers look forward to every year, according to Homewood Police Chief Denise McGrath.

National Night Out is the first Tuesday of every August. National Night Out’s website describes it as a “campaign that promotes police-community partnerships” with about 17,000 participating cities in the United States and 201 in Illinois.

“We’ve always participated in National Night Out for as long as I can remember,” McGrath said.

Jackie Hooks, right, with her kids Aniykan Hooks, Areignton Hooks, second from right, and Amaris Hooks, far left, take a look at a Homewood police vehicle at National Night Out on Aug. 1. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Jackie Hooks, right, with her kids Aniykan Hooks, Areignton Hooks, second from right, and Amaris Hooks, far left, take a look at a Homewood police vehicle at National Night Out on Aug. 1. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Kids played a water balloon game with Homewood police officers. A line of kids threw water balloons back and forth with a line of officers. After every toss, the officers took a step back, making it harder to throw the water balloon without busting it open.

Children were given balloon animals and had their faces painted. A DJ moderated a hula hoop contest. Both kids and adults participated.

Like every year, a medical helicopter from the University of Chicago stopped by. Community members toured the inside of it.

Community members play a hoola hoops game refereed by the DJ at National Night Out in Irwin Park. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Community members play a hoola hoops game refereed by the DJ at National Night Out in Irwin Park. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Detective Michael Kozlowski stood by a display table showcasing the Homewood police’s evidence kit. This included the black powder that’s placed on a surface a perpetrator may have touched with their fingerprint and the brush that’s used to apply this powder. A camera used to take crime scene photos was also on the table.

A police shield and a black battering ram that the Homewood Police could use to break down doors rested on the other end of the table. The battering ram was about three and a half feet and weighed about 30 pounds, Kozlowski said.

“I would say that most of the stuff we have we don’t ever use — which is a good thing,” Kozlowski said when showing this side of the display table.

Attendees held up the battering ram and the police shield and took pictures. When children held up the battering ram, Kozlowski held it with them, so they didn’t drop it.

Kids hopped into the driver’s seat of a squad car. They played with the siren under Kozlowski’s supervision. Kozlowski showed community members the equipment used to track how fast a motorist is driving.

Jackie Hooks attended with her children Aniykan, Areignton and Amaris. Aniykan, a student at Bright Start Child Care in Homewood, hopped in the police car and turned on the siren.

“He was ecstatic to learn. He got some information regarding the materials that police officers use. It’s been very enlightening,” Hooks said of her and her son’s experience.

Aurelio’s, Cilantro and Dairy Queen sold food to event attendees. Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse had a booth, providing information to attendees about their organization.

In addition to the Homewood police officers, Metra and Canadian National railroad police officers were also present.

Homewood police officers play a water balloon toss game with local kids at National Night Out. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
Homewood police officers play a water balloon toss game with local kids at National Night Out. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

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