Police, fire officials plan free cookout, activity night for county families

GREENFIELD — Local police and fire officials are inviting residents to join them for a county-wide community outreach event.

The Greenfield Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Greenfield Fire Territory will jointly host a cookout and activity night in Greenfield from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Riley Park shelter house, 210 N. Apple St.

The announcement of the event follows two shootings targeting police officers in Texas and Louisiana, and local officials say such instances of violence highlight the need for positive relationships between police and the residents they serve.

So often, community members meet public safety officers when something bad has happened, typically after an accident has occurred or a crime has been committed, Hancock County Sheriff Mike Shepherd said.

Gatherings such as this event will give the public a chance to see members of law enforcement under positive circumstances, Shepherd said.

That’s important given the heightened tensions surrounding police officers across the country in recent weeks, he added.

Local law enforcement has seen nothing but encouraging support from Hancock County residents in the weeks after two shootings targeting law enforcement in Dallas and Baton Rouge left eight police officers dead, Shepherd said. But police officers should always foster good relationships with the public they serve, not just in the wake of tragedy, he added.

The community night will follow the blueprint of the Greenfield Police Department’s and Greenfield Fire Territory’s block parties — summertime city gatherings that have fallen by the wayside in the last few years. All county residents are invited to attend, Greenfield Police Chief John Jester said.

Hot dogs, hamburgers and other snacks will be served, and Riley Pool will be open for families to enjoy a free swim.

Squad cars and other emergency vehicles will be on display for residents to see and explore, and officials have planned live presentations of fire and police department procedures, including demonstrations by K-9 and SWAT teams.

The hope is that the public will gain a better understanding of what those working in public safety face every day, what jobs they do and what those jobs entail, Greenfield Fire Chief James Roberts said.

For many years, the city’s fire and police departments teamed up to host a block party in a local neighborhood, inviting residents out into the streets to learn about public safety initiatives and programs, he said.

It has been about two years since city officials hosted a block party.

If you go

The Greenfield Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Greenfield Fire Territory will jointly host a cookout and activity night in Greenfield from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Riley Park shelter house, 210 N. Apple St.

Emergency vehicles will be on hand for children to see and enjoy, and public safety officers will put on demonstrations.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.