Tuesday, August 4, 2015 –
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.– Army Reserve soldiers from the 85th Support Command and 327th Military Police Battalion came together, Aug. 4, to partner with their local community’s police departments of Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows for their annual National Night Out (NNO) community event.
NNO is a nation-wide police event conducted at the local community-level that enhances the relationships between law enforcement and local communities.
“Last year we had three-thousand people, this year I estimate closer to four-thousand,” said Arlington Heights police chief Gerald Mourning. Mourning has been an officer of the law for 38 years and he has served Arlington Heights for 11 of those years.
“It’s an event that involves our public safety sponsors and we consider (ourselves) to be a part of that as well,” said Mourning. “We want to be able to interact with our community…and it’s outstanding.”
The safety sponsors brought various interactive displays for the community. The Army Reserve provided several High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) that children climbed through and paused for photos; the Chicago Recruiting Battalion recruiters erected a rock climbing wall; the local K-9 unit conducted scenarios on how police dogs apprehend suspects, and the Arlington Heights firefighters rappelled down safety ropes from a 90 foot ladder extended from their truck. Numerous other exhibits and entertainment included a live band and an inflatable bounce house for kids.
“I like the idea that the people who (serve) the city get involved and do events to show that they do care about the community,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Fittanto, budget sergeant for the 85th Support Command.
This was Fittanto’s first time participating at Arlington Heights’ NNO and in the midst of helping kids through the HMMWVs, he also took part in climbing the rock wall.
“It was exciting, and challenging wearing the boots, but I had fun doing it,” said Fittanto.
Simultaneously, in the neighboring town of Rolling Meadows, their NNO kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem by Jim Cornelison, Chicago Blackhawks National Anthem singer. Other activities there included Air-One Emergency Response Coalition landing (Air-one is a rescue helicopter and crew), a magic show, a vehicle extraction, the Jesse White Tumblers, Chicago Bear drumline, and a fireworks display.
“It’s pretty much getting together with the community, education on crime prevention and community policing,” said Marina Sullivan, Coordinator of National Night out in Rolling Meadows.
The Rolling Meadows police chief was also at the event supporting the community with an estimated crowd of 800.
“These kinds of events are absolutely important. The relationship between the police and the community has never been more important,” said Rolling Meadows police chief Dave Scanlan. “We’re here to serve the community.”
Even Cornelison was happy to have been a part of it.
“From my standpoint I like to be included by the police and military,” said Corneilson. “It’s great to come out and be a part of these things.”
Maj. Lawrence Reid, budget officer for the 85th Support Command, and first time attendee of the event felt the camaraderie there with the local community.
“It’s a good community and the people really support the military and police,” said Reid.