Night Out at Fairmont Park brings community and law enforcement together
Aug 21, 2018 13h57
By Jana Klopsch
Salt Lake Police chat with local residents at Fairmont Park at National Night Out. (Spencer W. Belnap/City Journals)
By Spencer W. Belnap | [email protected]
Tuesday, Aug. 7, marked the 35th annual National Night Out. Every year, millions of neighbors take part in this tradition of bringing communities and their law enforcement together. Several neighborhoods across the Salt Lake valley participated. This year’s event in Sugar House was another Night Out at Fairmont Park.
The evening was bustling with hundreds of neighbors interacting and talking with local police and fire department personnel in a fun summer park setting. There was live music provided by Columbia Jones, bicycle and book giveaways, exotic birds to hold, and giant board games. A few candidates for upcoming elections were present as well. There were many families that came out for the event, walking or biking from their homes.
“This is my first time attending,” Sugar House resident Talisa Black said. “My kids go the Boys & Girls Club that’s right next door, and they had advertised it there. It’s been really fun, and I appreciate that everything is free. We just walked here. It’s been cool to see the Police Explorers too, which I didn’t know about.”
Salt Lake City Police Department’s Law Enforcement Explorer Program is a specialized group for young men and women ages 14 to 20. Most of the young Explorers intend to go onto the training academy and become career police officers or personnel. They walked around the park as well, explaining their program and what they like about it. A few teens were stationed near the pond helping kids cast a fishing pole.
Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski was there for the first part of the evening, as well as Chief of Police Mike Brown. They were making appearances at various Night Out gatherings across the city. Brown tossed a small football back and forth with a teenage boy before getting a picture taken with him. Various police officers mingled with neighbors and each other, a rare occasion for all to just hang out. Some of them planned to stop by a couple other neighborhood gatherings that evening and look forward to the night every year.
“The part I enjoy most is watching the hard work of the community come together,” Detective Josh Ashdown said. He is SLCPD Community Intelligence Unit’s District 7 representative. “This is an event that connects neighbors to neighbors and the city with people it serves. Sugar House really has a great number of active residents who dedicate themselves to making the area better.”
This year marked the second year a Night Out gathering took place on the east side of Salt Lake. The Sugar House Community Council is the main organizer of the event, and was on hand giving out Sugar House Night Out T-shirts. City Council member for District 7, Amy Fowler, was also there to answer any questions and toss around Frisbees with folks. Everyone involved hopes to make it even bigger and better next August.
“This year seemed to go very well,” Ashdown said. “A great team of people from the community pulled together to create a great event. This time went better than last, and I think each year will be an improvement.”