By Rikki King Herald Writer
MONROE — Puppies, balloons and bouncy houses filled Lake Tye Park in Monroe on Tuesday night as neighbors poured out to mingle with police officers and firefighters.
Monroe was one of many communities hosting National Night Out, a free annual event that promotes crime prevention, community cohesion and safety.
Madison Fields, 6, of Monroe, got to meet police dogs and climb around a police car, she said. She liked speaking into the emergency radio equipment.
“I said, ‘Hi, Mom,’” she said.
Churches, businesses and other community groups provided safety-themed games and giveaways.
Rhonda Webb, of Snohomish, was there volunteering with the Maltby Christian Assembly. She brought her grandson, Dylan Webb, 8.
Rhonda Webb wanted to participate in Night Out “to show people in the community that there are people who care,” she said.
At one booth, Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer helped Jake Peckenpaugh, 10, of Snohomish, glue together a puzzle about police and safety.
Several Monroe officers brought their families to the event, and their children cooed over “Police Dog Kindergarten,” a pen where two big black puppies jumped up for kisses and cuddles.
“Police Dog Kindergarten” had fierce competition though, as kids bee-lined for the bouncy house and bouncy slide.
“They’re really fun,” Madison said.
Monroe firefighters were there, sharing information about fire prevention and demonstrating their new grants-and-donations-funded safety robot that winked and sprayed water at visitors.
The Rotary Club of Monroe stepped up a few years ago to help fund and organize National Night Out, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.
It takes a ton of work, but National Night Out highlights people in the community supporting one another, and reminds folks of all the services available in Monroe and surrounding areas, Rotary board member Sally Petty said.
Petty darted around, checking on booths as people milled about the park in summer clothes, laughing and chatting.
“It’s just our opportunity to come together as a community and really promote safety,” Willis said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org