Darien night out event honored
DARIEN He knew it was going to be good, he just didn't know how good.
This week, the Darien Police Department won the "Rookie of the Year" award for its first National Night Out.
The award was given by the National Association of Town Watch, the national group that oversees such events.
Darien's National Night Out, which was a first for the village and for Walworth County, was held Aug. 2, said Darien Police Chief Hunter Gilmore.
Like National Night Out events across the country, Darien's event served to highlight the work of police, fire and EMS workers and to create positive connections between residents and police.
"That's the thing I've really been stressing here," said Gilmore. "If you don't have community support, you don't have anything."
Before becoming chief in Darien, Gilmore worked for a police department in a city of about 50,000 people.
"We had National Night Outs there that were nowhere as nice as this," Gilmore said.
That, he said, was because of the number of businesses, individuals, community groups and government agencies that helped.
"People were just incredible," Gilmore said.
The evening included free pizza, ribs, ice cream and other snacks, games, the Shriner's "aviation squadron," live music, demonstrations from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office canine unit, a motorcycle racing display, demonstrations from the Darien Fire and EMS and a variety of other presentations.
Gilmore said he knew his community had put on an outstanding—possibly even award-winning—event, and the award confirmed those feelings.
Planning already has started for next year's National Night Out, which will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
People interested in helping should call Darien Police Department event coordinator Chuck Lankford or Gilmore at (262) 882-3432.