The Sleepy Eye Police Chief's monthly column.

The evening of Thursday July 28 is Sleepy Eye’s Party in the Park. I look forward to this event every year. Party in the Park is the Sleepy Eye Police Department’s version of National Night Out. It is always great to see families walking through the park; it truly feels like a community event.

I like having our officers out by the squad cars talking with people and letting the kids use the squads as jungle gyms for one night. Watching the kids take turns sitting in the seats and taking pictures behind the bars is fun for us officers, too. The kids remind us that squad cars are not just a tool we use but an interesting and unusual office.

I enjoy talking with the community while the kids play. It gives everyone a chance to talk with us in a setting where there is not a conflict. I think that is what makes the night so great for us officers. During Party in the Park, that element of conflict is taken away and everyone is able to communicate without that barrier. I am not going to speak on the recent events in the media; everyone has heard enough and has their own opinion. I will say that this year I am looking forward to Party in the Park even more. In my mind, a community that can see and know its Law Enforcement Officers is a safer one. The more understanding and truth between us, the better off we all are. We can’t fix the problem nationally, but we can help keep the problem out of our community.

So if you are at Party in the Park, please stop and talk with us. Let your kids run though our squad cars. We look forward to seeing everyone. Also, don’t forget we are again giving away two bikes that night. Thanks to various community businesses, we will be drawing two names from the children who have received safe biking helmet tickets this summer. Those children drawn will get to pick out a bike. There are still a couple of weeks left to get entered, so tell you kids to get out riding and to wear their helmet. Hope to see everyone at Party in the Park.