Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels was blown away by not only the support for the "Community Night Out" Tuesday evening in Alexandria, but also this year's attendance.
"It was unbelievable," Wyffels said of the attendance. "I know I probably said this last year, but this year really was our best year ever."
The chief estimated that well over 1,000 people attended the annual event, which he guessed has been going on for the last 15 or so years.
"It really was a great turnout this year," he said.
Building bridges and connections with people in the lakes area are two of the biggest reasons why the event is held each year. Wyffels said it's a great way for the community to get to know not only law enforcement officers, but city personnel and those who work in emergency response, such as firefighters and EMTs.
"It's really about making those connections and having fun while we're doing it," said Wyffels.
This year, a dunk tank was added to raise money for the local Special Olympics and to incorporate even more fun. Wyffels, who was one of the dunk tank participants, said it was fun to take one for the team.
Because there was quite the line of people – kids, adults and plenty of Alexandria police officers – waiting to take their turn dunking Wyffels, he was in the hot seat, so to speak, for about a half an hour. His shift was only supposed to be about 15 minutes.
Wyffels said the event couldn't be possible without the participation of all those who help out, including the Alexandria Eagles Club, which serves the free food every year. They served more than 1,000 hot dogs.
"Everyone is so great, but the Eagles Club does such an awesome job and have already said they have dibs on serving up the food for next year's event because they told me they love doing it," said Wyffels.
The event keeps growing and Wyffels said plans are already in the works to add even more activities for kids in 2020.