West Allis — With the Milwaukee County Sheriff's SWAT team and bomb squad and health professionals standing by ready to answer questions, the West Allis National Night Out will be held at the West Allis Farmers Market on 66th Street and National Avenue, from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 21.
But that's only part of the festivitie. Music by Eagle Entertainment, face painting, several large inflatable attractions for children and teens, a rock climbing wall, a train ride for small children, free bicycle helmets for the first 120 people to register their bicycles and many challenging children's games are also available.
Once again the SWAT van will be there as will the bomb squad vehicle loaded with equipment to see. A key piece of bomb squad equipment is a robot that checks suspicious packages before people are put at risk, said West Allis Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Nohelty, West Allis National Night Out coordinator.
He anticipates demonstrations with the robot, Nohelty said.
It's hard to say for sure whether the county officers will attend because duties might call them away, Nohelty said, but "I'm hoping they will bring the horses."
The mounted sheriff's deputies are a hit wherever they go, with children asking questions about the horses and sometimes getting to pet them.
Closer to home, the West Allis police will display the Harleys they ride and the Fire Department will come with its ladder truck. Visitors also will get to try their aim with a hose.
New to the event will be the Speleocave, a multilevel artificial cave to crawl through.
"It's a pretty big hit for the kids," Nohelty said. The Speleocave has been at other West Allis celebrations.
"It's just like being on the inside of a cave," he said.
The National Night Out pie baking contest will be back and once again, leftovers will be sold to benefit the city's crime prevention efforts, Nohelty said. Those efforts include buying "slow down" yard signs for those living on streets that have problems with speeding, buying graffiti removal materials and buying the various things police give away to children when visiting schools and events such as badges, baseball and football cards.
There also will be displays and giveaways. A variety of low-cost food will be available including corn-on-the-cob, chicken on a stick, hot dogs, pizza, snow cones, popcorn, nachos and cheese, soda and bottled water. Each will cost $1 or less.
Once again, the West Allis Police Reserve Unit will offer its chicken barbecue for $8.50 and the traditional drive-through service will be available.
Neighborhood block parties will be held Tuesday, July 22, and uniformed police officers, members of the police motorcycle unit, McGruff the crime dog and West Allis Fire Department personnel will visit more than 60 block parties from 6 to 9 p.m.
— Jane Ford-Stewart
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