OGDEN -- Ogden police were out in full force Tuesday night, taking an opportunity to show their softer side to the public.
The National Night Out was held at the Ogden Amphitheater and showcased several community-oriented police units and other agencies.
The prominent group was the Community Policing Unit, which is described as the "hands-on" division of the police force.
The unit's job is to handle very specific problems in the community and to be the face of the police department to the community.
"It's a law enforcement and citizen partnership in crime prevention," said Officer Kevin Mann.
The unit handles such issues as responding to loud parties, patrolling areas for vagrants and even informing businesses of overgrown weed problems.
While these issues may seem minor, Mann said they often go overlooked because community members don't report it.
"If people aren't willing to get involved, then law enforcement is not a guarantee," he said.
The purpose of the event was to introduce residents to the various agencies that work with the community.
Among the groups represented were the Community Emergency Response Team, Ogden Animal Services and Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.
"It's an opportunity to put information in people's hands," said Stacy Rice, the event's coordinator.
Rice signed on to organize the annual event to expand it and let residents know they don't have to be afraid of their police force.
Several family-friendly demonstrations where held, including members of the Weber County Sheriff's Office making a wind tunnel with their fan boat and the Ogden Police K-9 unit attacking Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who was wearing a padded suit, of course.
Mann emphasized that community participation is key.
The Community Policing Unit facilitates the creation of Neighborhood Watch programs.
If there is gang activity in a neighborhood, and residents have an active Neighborhood Watch program, it can be an effective way to remove the problem and show that the community isn't afraid, because gangs feed off intimidation, Mann said.
Law enforcement is a resource, not a solution, he said.
Community Policing officers are assigned to different areas of the city, and residents can call or email the officer assigned to their neighborhood with any sort of problem.