Thunder and rain did not stop stop several local towns from celebrating their partnerships between their police departments and their communities for National Night Out last week.

The Boonville, Chandler, Elberfeld and Lynnville police departments, along with the Warrick County Sheriff's Office, were among the thousands of police departments who celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

According to NationalNightOut.org, the goal of the night is to promote better police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live."

Although most of the celebrations took place outside and received a dousing of rain and thunder, the events continued on.

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At the Boonville celebration, which took place at City Lake, hordes of families and volunteers crowded around in several tents.

At one point, young boys in Boonville Volunteer Firefighter hats were chasing each other in a tent they shared with none other than police chief Daryl Saltzman. Also housed in the same tent were several local community agencies there to promote their causes, as well as to celebrate their local first responders.

Warrick County Cares was at Boonville's NNO asking kids to make little signs explaining how they show they care about Warrick County. One sign said, "by volunteering at school."

Jenna Alka, the director of admissions at the St. Vincent Warrick was there passing out free bike helmets to promote bike safety.

"Since we've changed our name, we want to get out in the community as much as possible to create awareness," she said.

Tony Rhoades, president of the Chandler Lions Club, attended the Chandler National Night out to promote the annual Chandler Celebration Days festival that will take place on Saturday Sept. 16. Rhoades said National Night Out is all about the police, fire department and other local agencies supporting each other.

"We rely on the fire department here for the community. They need help and we need help," he said. "And we are going to reply on the police department for the parade."

While in Elberfeld, Indiana State Trooper Michael Finney showed off his K-9 partner Boomer, a German Shepherd service dog that can track and apprehend as well as find narcotics and flight medics from St. Vincent LifeFlight flew down to show off the helicopter to the community.

At the Chandler celebration, the police officers were the ones serving up the food to the attendees at the Chandler Community Center.

"I think it's important for their to be an officer-citizen relationship," said Chandler reserve officer Richard Mount. "We are one of them."

Boonville Police Officer Brandon Wells said he likes National Night Out because it is a way for him and his fellow officers to get to know their community better and for the community to get to know them better.

"It's just great to see everyone come together and to see what everyone has to offer," he said. "We don't have all the eyes out there and we need everyone to help."

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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