MARYSVILLE – Years ago, people, young ones especially, feared police.
Now, police in the Marysville Police Department want to be more “approachable,” Cmdr. Mark Thomas said.
It’s working, based on the National Night Out at Jennings Park Tuesday.
“My kids love police,” Tashina Brown of Marysville said, adding her dad is an officer. “It’s instilled in my family,” Brown said, also saying her kids love any type of police vehicle.
April Valentine of Marysville said her kids love “any little thing that has to do with cops.”
Valentine, who comes to the event every year, said her kids are “comfortable with cops. They’re the good guys.”
Chaplain Dan Hazen said the event connects people to police. “I love the engagement,” he said.
Hazen added that it’s also great to see first-responders talking to each other in a social setting. Too often they only get together during a crisis.
“They can connect with each other and smile,” he said.
Ron Wagner, leader of the Marysville Volunteers Program, was there handing out gifts for kids. But he said the program is down to 19 volunteers. He said every day they check on schools, houses, mobile home parks and apartments. “Making sure people see us,” he said.
Thomas said the goal of National Night has changed over the years. It used to be a big production with hundreds of people receiving tons of information and handouts. “Now it’s more about getting to know your neighbors and less about being a festival,” he said.
His favorite part of the event is the kids climbing all over the vehicles and watching the K-9s.
“They can talk to the cops and get to know law enforcement,” Thomas said. “So they can see us as human.”
The city provided hot dogs, chips, water and popsicles. Also there were vendors, including: Tulalip Lions; Community Health Center; Community Health Plan of Washington; Neighborhood Watch; Marysville fire and police, including K-9; Girl Scouts; Bikers Against Child Abuse; Catholic Community Services; and Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County.