BEMIDJI -- Hundreds of community members attended the Boys and Girls Club’s National Night Out, or “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at the field between JW Smith Elementary School and the club itself.

In an effort to promote crime prevention, healthy community relationships and overall camaraderie, several activities had children and adults alike participating in a drunk driving simulator, car crash simulator, and a mock crime scene among other scenarios.

Kenzie Skaug, 7, pretends to drive a U.S. Army vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Kenzie Skaug, 7, pretends to drive a U.S. Army vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Numerous vendors provided information as well, including the Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter, Headwaters Music and Arts, Support Within Reach and more.

“This event is all about making connections and allowing people to interact with officers in a non-threatening manner,” said Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin. “By building relationships you’re also building trust, and the community needs to trust that law enforcement is here for good and that building trust equals a safer community.”

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The Boys and Girls Club has partnered with the Bemidji Police Department year after year to host the event along with other activities.

“We already have a positive working relationship, and collaborating to host an event with a family friendly environment is fun,” said Andrea Kent, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. “Seeing children embrace law officers and talking and visiting with each other makes this really positive for everyone.”

Kent welcomes everyone who wants to get involved with the Boys and Girls Club. Volunteer information can be found at www.bgcbemidji.org.

Bemidji police officer Tabitha Carrigan shows Emelia Thode, 4, how to turn on the lights of a squad car during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. Thode said she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji police officer Tabitha Carrigan shows Emelia Thode, 4, how to turn on the lights of a squad car during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. Thode said she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Wendell Lancaster, 6, drives a pedal cart during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. Children had the opportunity to try out the cart with “impaired goggles” if they wanted. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Wendell Lancaster, 6, drives a pedal cart during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. Children had the opportunity to try out the cart with “impaired goggles” if they wanted. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Nora Lorenzi, 7, prepares to hop out of Beltrami County’s emergency services vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Nora Lorenzi, 7, prepares to hop out of Beltrami County’s emergency services vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Children had the opportunity to check out Beltrami County’s emergency services vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Children had the opportunity to check out Beltrami County’s emergency services vehicle during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji police officer Joe Lorenzi tries the “seat belt convincer” while at National Night Out with his family on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji police officer Joe Lorenzi tries the “seat belt convincer” while at National Night Out with his family on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)

Kali Headbird, 4, plays plinko during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)
Kali Headbird, 4, plays plinko during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area. (Jillian Gandsey / The Bemidji Pioneer)