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Bridgeport FOP to host community event

BRIDGEPORT — The Bridgeport Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 211 will host an event for the community this summer.

Bridgeport Police Chief John Bumba said the event is the first annual Community Days. The all-day soiree is set for 8 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Aug. 1 on South Lincoln Ave., between Main and Howard streets.

The FOP met with members of the community Wednesday evening to discuss and plan for the upcoming event.

Lt. Darby Copeland said law enforcement wanted to once again bring the community together.

“When we had our National Night Out last year, we noticed a strong desire from the community to come together. Bridgeport is and always has been a very proud community, but what it was missing was some common thread to bring people together,” he said.

“As a small town police department, it’s our job to bring the community together.”

The village’s police department hosted the National Night Out event last year at the high school in which members of the community were invited to celebrate in the festivities with law enforcement and first responders. Bumba said the event was canceled this year due to COVID-19, however the department hopes to hold the event again next year.

Copeland said officers want to establish a positive relationship within the village.

“We really want to establish a positive community relationship, which is how NNO started, and this is a spinoff of that. Our goal is to be able to do two events per year for the community, and really give something back to the kids,” he said.

Similar to last year’s National Night Out event, law enforcement hopes to donate school supplies to local students. Last year, the department donated more than 300 school supplies items to students.

“I suspect they’re going to have a much greater need this year with the economic impact of COVID-19,” Copeland said. “We always tell them, ‘if you have a need, tell us, we’ll find it.'”

The event will include a multitude of free activities including live musical performers, inflatables, touch-a-truck, a community blessing and fireworks. There will also be a variety of food vendors, a 5K race, pancake breakfast, cornhole and basketball tournaments and more.

The Thin Blue Line FOPA Lodge 100 5K run/walk is still looking for participants. Anyone interested in signing up for the race can pick up an application at the police department.The cost is $20 and includes a T-shirt.

Copeland said additional vendors are still needed along with donations to help support the event. Anyone interested in a vendor application or making a donation may contact Copeland at the police department.

COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines will be followed to ensure everyone’s safety during the event. Social distancing will be practiced and hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout.

The FOP thanked local businesses who have already made “generous” donations toward the event including Lansing Sportsman’s Club, Trinity Health System, Bridgeport Rotary Club, Unified Bank, The Nugget, Gateway Church, City Advertising, Bill’s Towing, FOPA Lodge 100, The Skyliner and the Bridgeport Park District.

Both Copeland and Bumba also said the department is extremely grateful to the community for their continued support.

“We feel blessed to work for a community like this,” Copeland said. “We want to bring the police and community relationships together. We’re all in this together and if we all work together, we can make Bridgeort a better place to work and live.”

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