SCOTTSBLUFF — The community enjoyed an evening of family fun as the Scottsbluff Police Department hosted the 22nd annual National Night Out on Broadway in Scottsbluff Tuesday evening.
Families and children roamed several blocks of downtown completing interactive and educational activities.
One of the new activities at this year’s National Night Out was a rollover simulator, featured at the Nebraska State Patrol booth. The simulator showed spectators what happens to people and belonging inside of a vehicle during a rollover crash.
For Bryce Long, 11, of Alliance, seeing the dummy fall out of the window was scary.
“If that was real, the person would be dead,” Long said. “It’s important to put your seatbelt on.”
Ethan McKean, 9, of Scottsbluff also attended National Night Out where he got to visit with members of law enforcement and firefighters.
“I’m not scared of them,” McKean said. “They fight fires and catch criminals and people who disobey the rules.”
McKean played the bean bag toss, making three bean bags into the board’s hole. He said it was a fun evening.
Josh Larez brought his son Maximus, 2, to the event and helped his son swing a hammer to ring a bell at the Scottsbluff Fire Department.
“I brought my son so we can have fun and see the local businesses,” Larez said. “We came out too for some family fun and entertainment.”
Jennifer Albert also brought her 3-year-old son Bryce to the event.
“It’s great for the community to come together for the kids,” she said.
As Bryce threw plastic Nerf darts through the air, his face lit up when one landed in the hula hoop.
“It was fun,” he said. “It exploded.”
While some of the activities encouraged youth to be active and have fun, the Golden Halo Foundation’s booth aimed to provide kids with an understanding about other kids’ physical challenges. Youth selected wheelchairs and walkers to use as they made their way around colorful dots on the ground.
“They’re figuring out that steering and upper body strength is a lot more challenging,” Shelley Thomas, a Golden Halo Foundation board member, said. “Hopefully they’re learning additional respect.”
Kerrigan Leonard, 6, sat in a wheelchair as she navigated around the dots.
“You have to use both hands and move the wheels to go forward and push back with one hand to turn,” Leonard said. “It was hard.”
Youth also used a water gun to spray water into a cup suspended on a string. Bodey and his sister Sierra Yurko had fun pushing the cup and their mother Sierra was impressed by the event.
“It’s a great event,” she said. “I’m impressed by the activities and creative stuff they have for the kids.”
With another successful National Night Out concluding in Scottsbluff, Scottsbluff Police Chief Kevin Spencer is grateful for the community involvement.
“We had a very good turnout this year and I think it’s awesome for us and the community,” Spencer said. “I hope they’re talking to all the first responders and law enforcement and fostering great relationships to become team members in promoting public safety.”
Spencer added the community’s support is vital for law enforcement to do their jobs as they need people to report information to help them solve crimes.
“Thank you to those who took time out of their day to come down and talk to us and get to know us,” he said. “We appreciate it and it’s important to us.”
National Night Out is an annual celebration held across America each year. This year’s event included over 60 businesses, organizations and law enforcement agencies.