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First responders from the Riley County Police Department, EMS and Manhattan Fire Department hosted a modified version of National Night Out Tuesday.

Led by RCPD, the event aims to bring the community together. Officers served up hamburgers and hot dogs to go while residents drove thru Hulburt Arena and posed their emergency vehicles for display. Officer Rachel Pate says the event, while different from years’ past still accomplished its goal.

“We’re really happy to get to see everybody again. I know we had to do it a little differently with a drive thru and walk through with masks and gloves but we’re looking forward to doing more virtual and contactless events in the future,” she said.

Events like these help police foster their relationship with the communities they serve. Capt. Josh Kyle says that relationship is vital to them on a daily basis.

“We have low crime and it’s thanks to the community that doesn’t tolerate a lot of crime. If people start committing a series of crimes, we usually get information from the community and are able to put a stop to it,” he said.

There had been initial uncertainty if an event like National Night Out could happen under restrictions due to COVID-19, but the agencies opted to go forward with it due to its overall value to community engagement.

The event included a one mile ceremonial law enforcement torch run for RCPD and Special Olympics Kansas athletes and a Facebook Live meet and greet with officials.

Turnout was high, with those who came out waiting up to a half an hour or longer to be served. Officers on scene say they were delighted at the turnout and may have slightly underestimated how many people would attend. Find photos in the above gallery from Tuesday’s event. All photos were taken by KMAN’s Steven Shaffur.

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