News Auxiliary Police Officers Elaine Crossman and Darlene Kinney were busy fingerprinting children. Photo courtesy of Steve Metsch
Hundreds attend Bridgeview Night Out

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Hundreds attend Bridgeview Night Out

Event touts services offered by village to residents

By Steve Metsch

Several hundred people attended the National Night Out festivities at the Bridgeview Village Hall on Aug. 1.

“it’s a way to visit with neighbors and to learn more about our village,” Mayor Steve Landek said.

There was plenty to see and do.

Folks picked up free T-shirts and tote bags from the public library. They got to tour the interior of a special police vehicle on loan from Homeland Security.

Kids were able to “repair” a leaking water main. Other kids took their turns aiming a fire hose at a target. Some got to sound the horns in the cabs of large public works vehicles.

There were rides in the back of squad cars – no charges filed, thank you – and in a fire engine. A DJ playing an eclectic selection of songs. And balloon animals were made for kids, too.

Auxiliary Police Officers Elaine Crossman and Darlene Kinney were busy fingerprinting children. Photo courtesy of Steve Metsch

Auxiliary Police Officers Elaine Crossman and Darlene Kinney were busy fingerprinting children. The sheets of paper were given to parents as a precautionary measure. “If anything happens, they have this to use for identification,” Crossman said.

Tending to one child, Crossman said, “Your left hand first, then your right hand so we don’t smear it. Show me a nice thumb, there you go.” The ink was easily removed with a wipe.

Jennifer Slaughter, whose husband Ryan is a Bridgeview firefighter, had fingerprints taken of their sons, Zachary, 7, and Lucas, 4.

“I think it’s a great event. It’s a good turnout, especially at 5 o’clock,” she said.

Bridgeview had held a similar event several years ago, Landek said, and decided to bring it back. He was pleased so many residents attended from 5 to 8 p.m.

Many children lined up to take turns repairing a “leak” on a water main. Water plant operator Nick Caprio said, “it’s nice meeting all the neighbors and we can show them what we do.” A fire hydrant was broken down to show how it works.

Police officer Justin Brown was busy helping folks climb into the armor-covered Mine Resistant Personnel Carrier.

“It’s from the military and since they’ve downsizing, they make these available to police. We can get people safely out of a shooter situation,” Brown said.

Bridgeview belongs to a multi-jurisdiction SWAT team with 12 other communities and shares this with them, he said. The vehicle, stored in Justice, is designed to protect folks riding inside if a bomb were to explode beneath, he said.

Bridgeview resident Tina Edging brought her family. Her son-in-law, Tony Roeback, just became a Bridgeview firefighter. Another son-in-law, Ryan Otto, is a Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer.

“I wish my granddaughter, she’ll be 3 soon, would like it as much as I do. She’s kind of shy,” Edging said. “We’re out here to support our police officers and firefighters.”

In front of the fire station, Joey Parla, 6, of Oak Lawn, had a blast aiming a fire hose at a target with help from firefighter Mike Medeisis.

“My sister-in-law lives down block and we thought it would be fun,” Joey’s father, Joseph Parla, said. “My youngest, Zackery, is 3 and he loves all the fire department stuff. He’s in heaven. The boys are having lots of fun.”

Taking a break from visiting with people, village Trustee James Cecott said, “I think it’s great for the residents to get together and meet each other. And, it’s free with lots of amenities.”

Folks were treated to free hot dogs, chips, cold bottles of water and Culver’s frozen custard.

Desplaines Valley News

Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch is an award winning veteran reporter who previously worked for the Daily Southtown Newspapers, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Metsch is a writer and editor at the Southwest News Newspaper group based in suburban Chicago, and a freelance writer at the Chicago Tribune.
Email Steve Metsch at
Steve Metsch

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