Residents with good aim could get a chance to drop a police officer -- or even new Chief David Plesich -- into a dunk tank at the fourth annual Reynoldsburg Division of Police National Night Out.
The event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the police substation in Blacklick Plaza, 6553 E. Livingston Ave.
Community resource officer Tony Hines said the event is a chance for people to meet police officers and firefighters and features "100 percent free" food, entertainment and games.
"This year, we will do a lot more of what we have done in the past, with added bonuses," he said. "The free food includes Skyline Chili, Max & Erma's, Chick-fil-A, Idle-A-While, Culver's Ice Cream, Carnival Ice Cream, Arena Diner, a hamburger station and plenty of other food and desserts -- plus candy, candy, candy!"
In addition to the dunk tank, he said activities will include a disc jockey playing music, face painting, a bounce house and Ohio Select's "Hillbilly Roulette."
"Some of our new features include live music from the RHS marching band and area church groups, horse-drawn carriage rides, a GaGa pit, balloon station, more raffle items and a big ticket raffle at the end, featuring PS4 and Xbox systems and televisions," Hines said.
Plesich said National Night Out events began in 1984 and will be held all over the country this month.
"I have had the pleasure of participating in events in Hilliard and Charleston, South Carolina, in the past," he said. "This year, we will be joined by the Truro Township Fire Department and numerous individuals and businesses that are attempting to make this the best NNO yet."
He said National Night Out has become a "keystone event" to help strengthen police-community relations.
"Originally, we sought to have our neighbors become active in crime prevention, but the event has grown into a great way to forge stronger relationships with our community," he said.
"Ultimately, we want our city to be a safer place to live, work or visit, and that objective can be met when we work together."
Hines said his favorite part of National Night Out is seeing the smiles on the faces of community members at the expense of police officers doing fun things like singing, dancing or being dropped into the dunk tank.
"I encourage people to come out this year and meet our new chief while they dunk him in the dunk tank," he said. "I will personally be leading a line dance and singing a song or two with the band. Plenty of other first responders will be on hand and leading the fun, too."
Hines said the police department continues to host the event because it gives the community a chance to interact with first responders "in a calm, relaxing and fun atmosphere."
"We have also observed an increase in community relations with a decrease in crime in the area where the event is held," he said.
Plesich said he hopes residents plan to attend.
"We encourage people to come out and meet their neighbors and police officers," he said. "When folks meet us one-on-one, they see that we are public servants truly motivated to protect and serve."