A community coming together

Families, citizens turn out for inaugural ‘National Night Out’

The sound of chatter could be heard across the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA parking lot Tuesday evening as local law enforcement officers and community members came together to eat food and mingle.

“We’re happy that they Y is a good partner with Crimestoppers, we’re happy to see the support for local law enforcement,” said Marshalltown Y CEO Carol Hibbs the partnership with Marshall County Crime Stoppers in presenting the community’s first ever “National Night Out.”

The event’s purpose was to bring law enforcement officials and community members together to chat and get to know each other. Along with meeting police officers, visitors got to check out the nearby bike trail that runs near the YMCA-YWCA building.

“I think, for the first year, it was pretty good turnout,” said State Center Police Chief Jeff Bunn. “It’s a good way to get the community together with all the local law enforcement officers and get to understand what we do; it gives us a chance to communicate with them.”

Law enforcement officials from the Marshalltown Police Department and Marshall County Sheriff’s Office were also among the event’s guests.

Festivities that evening included giving away free Crimestoppers tee shirts to the first 100 visitors to the event. Water bottles and fresh-cooked hotdogs were also available.

Several families could be seen among the gathered crowd, with small children playing and talking to officers. The only noticeable pause in conversation happened after hotdogs were served and people sat together to eat.

“I think it’s a great event,” said Marshalltown resident Chris Gustafson, who was curious about the Night Out event when she heard about it. “We came to see what it’s about.”

Her 9-year-old son Cole, who sported a silver police badge sticker on his forehead, said he was having a lot of fun.

“One of the successes of Crimestoppers has been the support from various sectors of the community,” Hibbs said. “We have business support and individuals supporting the non-profit organization, it’s really a community effort.”

Bunn said he hopes the event is the beginning of a tradition in the area. He handed out several badge stickers to eager kids and talked to them about being a police officer.

“I’m really happy with it, and hope this kind of thing keeps going and we can keep doing it for years to come,” he said.

National Night Out is a widespread community-building campaign, with events held throughout the United States and Canada, among other places.


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com