National Night Out works for safer communities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

National Night Out works for safer communities

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Like a lot of children, eight year old Griffen Johnson was pretty excited to sit a helicopter Tuesday.

“It’s really cool,” Griffen said. “There are a lot of buttons and cool cargo.”

The helicopter was from University of Iowa Hospitals, and Griffen’s experience was more than just cool – according to some, it was also helping make the Cedar Valley safer.

Griffen got his chance to view the machine when he and his family attended the National Night Out event at the Cedar Falls Target. Though it’s only one day, organizer said the event keeps the community safer all year round, by helping form stronger bonds between neighbors.

To do this, they bring in emergency vehicles and show people around, while answering questions.

"Well what it does is it strengthens the partnership between the neighborhood, the police and the entire Cedar Valley,” said Lt. Dan Brown of the Cedar Valley Police Department.

Similar events took place across the state in metro areas like Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

Target hosted the Cedar Falls event, and employees were also there, grilling and socializing with attendees.

"I love seeing my team out here and really bonding with our guests,” said Target Team Leader Sarah Farrell.”So not only are we able to do that in the store, but we're able now to do that in this great event."

That bonding experience has long-lasting community benefits, according to Brown.

"Partnership creates opportunity for crime prevention, drug prevention, and other proactive things that we can do to prevent bad things from happening,” he said.

Griffen’s experience will stick with him as well. He left with a lot on his mind, like, what all the gauges in the fire truck mean.

“I don't have a drivers license, so I don't know,” he laughed.

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