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Community enjoys National Night Out in Coulee Dam


A water balloon toss while wearing "drunk goggles" was part of the Coulee Dam Police Department's National Night Out participation last week, a good option on the hot day. The goggles impair vision and balance enough to simulate impairment from alcohol. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Coulee Dam Police Department last week took part in National Night Out, a sort of meet and greet event that takes place each August nationwide at thousands of police departments who interact with their communities in a casual way.

Coulee Dam Police Chief Paul Bowden said that in 15 years in law enforcement, he had not yet taken part in National Night Out and decided it was time to do so. He plans to do so again next year.

"It's just for people to come out and meet us, know where we're located at our police department," he said. "We have bureau fire trucks here and kids can see people in uniform so they're not afraid when that time comes in a situation."

Children and adults alike were welcome to look inside of police vehicles and a fire truck presented by Bureau of Reclamation Emergency Management Services personnel.

Officer Josh Watkins, newly hired to the CDPD, showed the backseat of a cop car to some children.

"That'd be pretty uncomfortable wouldn't it?" he asked, to which the children agreed.

Children were also able to fingerprint themselves, paint rocks, paint wood, draw with sidewalk chalk and more, while children and adults were treated to hotdogs and rootbeer floats.

Lila Rose, Chief Bowden's daughter, performed country songs on the steps of city hall while the event took place inside and out of the city hall building.

Adults intermingled, talking about anything ranging from the 100-degree heat to gun control laws.

One of the more fun activities was the water balloon toss in which kids, and even an officer and an EMS worker at one point, would each wear goggles that simulate the visuals of being drunk. While wearing the goggles and standing on the lawn, they would toss water balloons to each other and try to catch them, which they managed to do sometimes. But when the balloon burst, they'd get splashed, much to the delight of the crowd of about 50 people.

"National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live," a website for the campaign says. "National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances."

"This event would not have been possible without the help and support of the community," Bowden said in a thank-you letter published in this week's Star. "And a HUGE thank you to all that attended the event! We hope to see you all again next year!"


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