National Night Out event honors fallen officer

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – National Night Out events were enjoyed all across Indiana and one community used it as an opportunity to honor an officer to who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

In Westfield, the event is often combined with Jake Laird Community Day.

Laird was an Indianapolis Police Department officer who was killed in the line of duty in August 2004.

Laird’s parents live in Westfield and coordinated the event with the police department.

There were games and activities for kids. Police were also encouraged to wear plain clothes instead of their uniform so they didn’t look like a typical officer.

Organizers said that allowed them to appear more normal and approachable to the kids. But mixed in with all of the fun were reminders of Laird’s sacrifice.

“The biggest thing we want to get out of it is let people see that we’re human and that we want to get out here and enjoy the community, get to know the community as well,” said Capt. Charles Hollowell, Westfield Police Department. “And let everyone know that you know when an officer unfortunately is no longer here with us anymore because of a tragic event, that we want to make sure we honor that officer.”

Laird’s parents Michael and Debbie were also at the event.

They spent time telling people stories about their son and raising money for his memorial fund. Laird’s father said his son would fit right in with National Night Out.

“He was always into things like the bicycle rodeo for the kids, community days in Indianapolis, and we kind of extended that over to this (event) for him,” Michael said. “I really think Jake would be one of the first people to volunteer to do this event.”

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