If you go
What: National Night Out
When: 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Aug. 7
Where: Broomfield County Commons Park, 13200 Sheridan Blvd.
More info: Visit broomfield.org/296/Police
Broomfield’s National Night Out Picnic in the Park, which started out drawing 15 people and 15 officers, has grown dramatically over the years.
“Last year we had around 2,000 people, which was the biggest crowed we’ve had yet,” police spokeswoman Joleen Reefe said.
The first event was held at a community park near the tennis courts, Reefe said, but the following year, it was a “pre-grand opening” for the Broomfield County Commons, which drew about 250 people. The event continues to be held there every year with interactive activities at booths, free snacks and demonstrations.
She and other police staff continued to brainstorm on how to evolve the event.
“We work with all these really great people,” she said. “We thought ‘how can we improve this event and what can we do to make it better?’”
Through that process came ideas such as the “Touch-A-Truck” program and adding groups from public works and the department’s K-9 Unit and inviting the North Metro Fire Rescue District — all groups that branched out, but still focused on safety.
National Night Out, a community-police awareness-raising event in the United States, is typically held the first Tuesday of August.
Organizers invite families to pack their own picnic supper (no food trucks are invited since the event is only two and a half hours), but there will be free snacks such as popcorn, ice pops and snack cakes. Bottled water also will be handed out.
This year, they’re adding tangerines as a healthy option.
“We try and listen to suggestions,” Reefe said, referencing the fruit. “Every year we saw ’this works, let’s expand this.”
One thing residents seemed to enjoy was collecting “conversation coins” — 15 wooden coins that highlighted different police divisions, from Crime Scene Investigation and traffic to patrol and SWAT.
Police cars, vans and motorcycles will also be there, she said, along with city trucks like a snow plow, front end loader or dump truck. Typically a fire truck joins the collection, along with the crime scene truck and SWAT van.
A few new nonprofits are joining the event, Reefe said, including SPAN (Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence) and the Rocky Mountain division of the American Liver Foundation, which is trying to expand into Broomfield.
Residents also are encouraged to bring donations for Broomfield FISH, which holds an mini-food drive.
“As we’ve grown, we try to make it community interactive,” Reefe said.
Groups like the city’s transportation division, B Healthy Broomfield, public health and the recreation department, which focuses on water and swim safety, typically have booths and games or attractions for families — from chalk drawings and water color by things like bean bag games or simply a presence to answer community questions.
It’ll be the third year a volunteer comes out to create an obstacle course for children on the grass.
The event is hosted by the police department’s Neighborhood Watch program.
A Broomfield Honor Guard, made of police and fire members, is expected to do a posting of the colors at 5:15 p.m., followed by a medical helicopter landing at 5:30 p.m. Firefighters will do a vehicle extrication at 6:15 p.m., police will do a K-9 demonstration at 7 p.m.
The last demo of the day, which will take place at 7:45 p.m., is a residential sprinkler demonstration that incorporates a side-by-side live burn, North Metro Fire spokeswoman Sara Farris said.
“Additionally, we will have a fire safety booth where kids can test their knowledge by answering a fire safety question on our safety wheel,” she said.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/ Jennifer_Rios