Prizes, food, games and chance to interact with officers are highlights

Reader's note: This story was amended on Thursday morning to reflect that Beaverton police estimate 2,500 attended the National Night Out event on Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Beaverton police officer Brian Gaunt introduces children to Ike, the newest K9 in the Beaverton Police Department, at the National Night Out event on Tuesday evening.Aloha resident Cheryl Hefty had so much fun at last year's National Night Out event in Beaverton that she and her five children made a beeline when they heard about this year's festivities at Beaverton City Park.

"The little kiddos had so much fun," she said of her children, aged 5 to 19. "They love the K-9 show, the spinning wheel, face painting. This combines a lot of fun events for the kids and allows them to be out here with police officers and not be scared."

The Beaverton Police Department celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday evening at the park near Beaverton City Library with about 2,500 visitors.

Children and adults alike enjoyed a police K-9 demonstration, free food, games and raffle prizes, fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and more. Sponsored by Beaverton police and the National Association of Town Watch, the event is designed to give citizens an opportunity to play an active part in their community through heightening crime- and drug-prevention awareness, generating support and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthening neighborhood spirit and police/community relations and sending a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

About 30 reserve and sworn officers, along with the city's five K-9's, took part in the event.

"It's a great event and an opportunity to get people out here to mingle and ask questions about what we do," said Beaverton Officer Anthony Bastinelli, who works with police K-9 Enzo. "It's an opportunity to see us work as a unit and what we have to offer. People know we have dogs, but they don't know what we do, how we save so many manpower hours."

Beaverton resident Sylvia Edet, who's older son Uduak had a winning raffle ticket for a tiny bike more appropriate for his 2-year-old brother, happened upon the event by accident after walking out of the library.

"We learned there was going to be an event, so we stayed," she said. "I like everything about it. It's nice seeing the people all together, children and police. You're getting to know more about the town."

Josephine Asis, an Aloha resident, said she enjoyed her first National Night Out. Her raffle ticket won her a Hot Wheels car Triple Blast Arena set for Nathaniel, her 1-year-old son.

"This is fantastic, a really cool event," she said. "It's important for a little boy growing up to learn how safety is important."

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Ella Hefty, 5, of Aloha, shares a moment with Ike, the newest black German shepherd K9 with the Beaverton Police Department, at the National Night Out event on Tuesday evening at Beaverton City Park at Southwest Fifth Street and Watson Avenue.Leslie Hefty, 19, who showed up with her mom and four sisters, said the event appealed to her personal interest in law enforcement.

"It's a good thing for those interested in criminal justice work," she said, noting she double majored in criminal justice and theater as a South Oregon University student. "I've learned about the different departments and officers. It's a really great event."

Hefty's 5-year-old sister, Ella, used the occasion to wear her police officer's shirt.

"She's been waiting" for the right occasion, her mom noted.

Police Chief Geoff Spalding said the event symbolizes the collaboration and spirit that enhance the city's livability.

“It’s events such as these partnerships that foster a decreasing crime rate, which we currently enjoy in Beaverton,” he said.

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