National Night Out a success
Brookfield police pleased with turnout
By Steve Metsch
Brookfield Police Lt. James Burdett was pleased by the large turnout for National Night Out.
“It’s nice coming together, the community and police department, (to) foster positive relations. It means a lot to us, the community comes out and supports us. We support them at the same time,” Burdett said.
Burdett was the police department’s liaison with the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, which put together the village’s third National Night Out held Aug. 6 at Ehlert Park.
There’s “no doubt” it’s good for residents and the police, he said. Firefighters were also on hand.
National Night Out started in1983 and is now held in many communities across the country. Summit and Bridgeview were two other local communities to take part in this year’s event.
Amy Weinert is secretary/treasurer of the chamber and assistant vice president at First National Bank of Brookfield, said the event “is a way to thank the first responders, the fire department and the police department.”
“We depend on them for our safety, and we want to know that we appreciate them,” Weinert said. “They’re a huge part of our community … They give back in more ways than wearing a badge.”
Weinert said she feels safe living and working in the village.
Turnout improves each year, she said. This was the first time they had a performance by an entertainer. Vegas-style singer and comedian Vito Zatto had young and old busy and laughing.
The Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile was there and folks enjoyed free hot dogs along with posing for photographs near the famous vehicle.
Several chamber members had booths, as did the Brookfield Public Library
Folks with the Brookfield Police Academy Alumni Association had a booth touting the group that, by holding events through the year, raises money to buy supplies for the police.
The academy is designed to teach residents more about what the police do by offering classes, said Frank Clarke, 77. He joined 10 years ago because he wanted “to be more involved in the village.”
“(The group has) bought trauma kits, the first aid kits for them, the portable breathalyzer. It costs us $25 a year (for membership). Any fund-raisers we have, the police need something, they’ll get ahold of us,” Clarke said.
Brookfield Fire Chief Mark Duffek needed a towel after several people sent him into the dunk tank. He didn’t mind on a hot, sunny day.
Duffek likes the idea of National Night Out, and managed to stay somewhat dry as few were able to dunk him.
That included four police officers who each missed on four throws. Duffek even taunted them with, “Thank God they don’t throw a ball like they shoot a gun.”
Eventually, a police cadet made an accurate throw and the laughing Duffek needed a towel.
During the event, children eagerly partook of many freebies like flying discs, water bottles and face painting.
While six-year-old Colin patiently waited in line to have his face painted, his mother, Samantha Schoonover, said National Night Out “is a good way to get everybody out.”
“It’s important to encourage the kids to be familiar them,” she said of the police officers and firefighters.
She “absolutely” feels safe.
“I’ve lived here forever. I’m 35, went away to school at Eastern (Illinois University), and came back to own my own home,” Schoonover said.
— Desplaines Valley News