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Hi-Line Living - National Night Out August 2

 

August 5, 2016

Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten

Cops and public came together for barbecue, live music, water dunking, face painting and puppies.

National Night Out brings law enforcement, emergency services providers and the community they serve together for a day of fun and getting to know each other. The purpose is to build and strengthen relations between the two.

Everyone wanted to dunk a cop.

A dunk tank had been set up not too far from where Havre High cheerleaders were painting faces. Officers Lucas Ames and Curt Smith and Sgt. Jesse Eller had volunteered to be the official dunkees for the day. Ames said his decision was based on the hot temperature. Forty-two minutes into the event, Ames said, smiling, that he'd already been dunked over 30 times.

Eller said the money raised - it cost $5 to throw six balls - went to "Shop with a Cop" program. In the program, children nominated by agencies and schools are paired with uniformed police officers who treat them to a day of shopping as the holiday season approaches.

Some kids who couldn't hit the target walked to it and pushed it.

Sgt. Ryan Pearson of the Havre Police Department was talking about the event when his daughter approached him, asking her father to come and hit the target for her.

Another big hit was the black, terrier and pitbull mix-breed puppy brought by Animal Control Officer Pete Federspiel. Somewhere under the mob of kids, the puppy was enjoying the attention.

"He's going to sleep well tonight," Federspiel said of the pup.

The Havre Fire Department brought two fire trucks to the event.

Havre Daily News/Teresa Getten

Fire Chief Tim Hedges was supervising kids who were climbing into and out of the smaller but newer fire truck. Firefighter Tyler Thompson was watching kids who were exploring the other one. He was asked by a 3-year-old why the steering wheel was so big. He said it was big because the fire truck was big.

Capt. Bill Wilkison, Assistant Chief Jason Barkus and Chief Gabe Matosich had been serving barbecue sandwiches and coleslaw for most of the event. They laughed and joked as the long line of people let the officers pile their plates. They said they would not be volunteering for the dunk tank and volunteered newspaper reporters be dunked instead.

Organizer Pearson said this year's National Night Out event was better than any year thus far.

"I love to see the support of the community," he said.

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