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Vermont police departments host National Night Out events

MILTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Connecting communities to the people who protect them, that’s the goal of the annual National Night Out events. They’re hosted by local police departments across the country.

At least 100 community members came together at Essex High School for the police department’s second National Night Out. It included free food, games and a chance to explore emergency vehicles.

Essex Police Cpl. John Ruttenberg says hosting a National Night Out event gives people the opportunity to engage with law enforcement in a casual way.

“It’s easy to judge if you don’t know people, so if you get out and talk to each other, people can sort of trust each other,” Ruttenberg said. “That’s what we want. We want the community to trust us and, you know, and believe in us.”

Over in Milton, the crowds were a little bigger, pushing nearly 800 people. This is the 13th year the Milton Police Department has hosted. They also partner with other agencies like the Williston Police Department and FBI.

Kids at that event were raving about dart games and face painting. They also had a course for adults to try their hand at texting and driving or using beer goggles on a golf cart.

Milton Police Chief Stephen Laroche says National Night Out strengthened their department’s ties with community members and is always fun to host.

“But the best part of it is just seeing the smiles on kids’ faces doing the lawn games and engaging with law enforcement,” Laroche said.

Swanton, St. Albans and South Royalton are a few other communities that hosted National Night Out events.

If you weren’t able to make it, all the departments say you can reach out to them at any time.

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