By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal
On the first Tuesday of August, La Habra joined the rest of the United States for National Night Out.
Though the event was set to start at 5:30 p.m., the community of La Habra was ready to meet and hang out with the La Habra Police Department much earlier.
Families gathered in Portola Park by the Children’s Museum at La Habra for K9, Swat and fire department displays, information on how to prevent crime, games and activities, free dinner, a Polynesian performance and to cap it all off, a movie in the park with Disney’s “Moana” as the featured film.
There were plenty of activities for the community to enjoy such as meeting the three police dogs, Emerson, Rita and Bobby, a craft table, a small tennis court courtesy of iTennis La Habra, a free farmers market provided by Our Lady Guadalupe Church and the La Habra Collaborative, and a dunk tank.
The Children’s Museum was also open past its usual hours and free to the public.
According to national organizers, the goal of National Night Out is as an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
Attendance has doubled as compared to last year, according to Sgt. Daniel Barnes. He has cooperated with assistant recreation manager Katie Elmore to help bring the event to the community. Though they prepared for approximately 800 individuals, Barnes finds that the craft table, the police dogs and the motorbikes are the biggest draw in.
“So I worked alongside the team and specifically K
atie Elmore from community services,” Barnes said. “Her and I have been working together to put this whole event together, connecting with our different business in the community, several nonprofits that are in our community.”
Ultimately, Barnes only desires to create a better and stronger relationship with the community he loves and serves.
“I feel like when you have a personal connection with someone, there’s more of a
responsibility and it really strengthens the bonds and a relationship is built there,” Barnes said. “When you have a stronger relationship, you become a little more projected in your goal and obviously our goal as a community, as a police department in the city, is to make this city a safer place to live and just to have a great working relationship,”