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Wauwatosa's Night Out celebrates 20th anniversary Aug. 5

Neighborhood Watch Committee members Harry Kohal and Diana Barkow advertise Tosa’s Night Out at the Tosa Farmers Market on May 26.

Neighborhood Watch Committee members Harry Kohal and Diana Barkow advertise Tosa’s Night Out at the Tosa Farmers Market on May 26.

July 30, 2014

It's been 20 years since the Wauwatosa Police Department teamed up with residents for the first Night Out celebration. Since then, the list of community partners has extended so long the event Aug. 5 includes attractions ranging from safety tips from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Bartolotta's Fireworks.

"The message has always been about safety and wellness, but it includes a lot of community partners now," Wauwatosa Police Lt. Paul Leist said. "It symbolizes our unity taking a stand against crime. And the fireworks obviously are just fun."

The night will feature the traditional 1.5-mile Family Flashlight Walk through Honey Creek Parkway, the lower Harwood area, and the Wauwatosa village. Registration forms for the walk are available at the Little Read Book Store at 7603 W. State St.

In addition to educational exhibits from the Wauwatosa health, police and fire departments, other organizations will be lined up with their own activities. The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission will be on hand to give tips on what to do with stray animals.

The event also will have a food court with local vendors, live music, games, inflatable rides, a coloring contest, and a finale of fireworks.

Harry Kohal, a member of the Neighborhood Watch Committee that helps plan the event, said the fireworks will be the "best ever" this year to honor the anniversary.

Over the years, Kohal said the committee has donated money raised from the Night Out to local causes like the security cameras at the TOSA Pool and a motorcycle for the police department. But, he said the money is not the focus.

"It promotes community safety and awareness, and brings families together before school starts to make new acquaintances and renew old ones," Kohal said.

The night also promotes local block watches, which are an especially popular program in Wauwatosa. Administrative Sgt. Brad Beckman said the city has more than 600 block captains who coordinate communication between residents and police on crime issues. Beckman said the watch groups have helped police become aware of crimes and solve them on countless occasions.

"A lot of times people won't call in one car break-in, but if they hear it happens to a neighbor too they might call in," Beckman said.

If you go

WHAT: Tosa's Night Out

WHEN: 4-10 p.m. Aug. 5

WHERE: Hart Park, 7300 W. Chestnut St.

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