CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — National Night Out formerly known as National Night Out Against Crime is recognized annually on the first Tuesday of August. Across Central Illinois, in over 26 locations in Peoria alone, events were held to allow law enforcement and residents to interact in a fun environment.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for everybody to meet a policeman and realize that policeman are people too and they’re people just like us,” said Mark Berhow, Center Bluff Neighborhood Association President. “If you meet any of these policeman that are here. They’re very engaging people, very nice to do and they’re willing to help. I hope this gives an opportunity for people to realize that they’re people just like us and if they need help they can ask for help.”

In addition to building relationships with adults, the night gives law enforcement a chance to bond with kids. Events across Central Illinois included activities for kids like bounce houses, splash pads and foam.

“I just jumped in and you could like go under it. It’s like you’re walking on a cloud,” said Washington resident Maeve Craghead.

Though the night was filled with fun, it also had educational components with book giveaways and safety lessons.

“An event like this that brings not only the community but firefighters and the police to like this area is a good thing for them,” said Jalen Jenkins, Community Recreation Coordinator for Proctor Recreation Center. The kids need to learn basic safety measures and I just feel like it’s a good break from the end of the summer going back to school.”