Big crowd turns out in Berg Park to celebrate National Night Out with Farmington police

Hundreds come out to enjoy games, hay rides, bounce houses and more

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Even though he spends much of his free time officiating high school basketball games, Steve Hebbe, chief of the Farmington Police Department, sheepishly acknowledged he didn’t fare too well against many of the youngsters who challenged him to a free throw shooting contest during his agency's National Night Out celebration Oct. 4 in Berg Park.

"Yes, they have," Hebbe said, smiling when asked if he had been getting schooled by some of the young sharpshooters. "There's a lot of pressure on me. Everybody wants to beat the chief."

Hebbe was joined by Robert Sterrett, chief of the Farmington Fire Department, at the Beat the Chiefs at Basketball Toss station where children could test their shooting skills against either of the chiefs for a small fee. Proceeds raised from the challenge benefited the San Juan chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

That attraction was just one of dozens that drew steady traffic during the event, part of a national community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships. Hebbe was very pleased with the crowd for the celebration, which looked to number in the range of 1,000 people.

Farmington Fire Department Chief Robert Sterrett, center, competes in a basketball shooting competition against a National Night Out visitor on Oct. 4 in Berg Park as Steve Hebbe, chief of the Farmington Police Department, watches.

"This turnout might be our biggest one yet," he said, noting that, because of the COVID-19 response, this was the first time since 2019 his department had been able to celebrate National Night Out without any restrictions.

Hebbe said his department always has had a strong commitment to interacting with the community, and events like National Night Out help solidify that bond.

Children compete against Farmington police officers in a game of dodgeball on Oct. 4 in Berg Park during the National Night Out celebration.

"We love the support we get from this," he said.

Visitors to the free event were treated to dodgeball games, hay rides, music, a dance-off competition, two bounce houses, a demonstration from the police department's canine unit and a pumpkin patch, among other attractions.

Free hay rides were among the offerings at the National Night Out celebration presented by the Farmington Police Department on Oct. 4 in Berg Park.

It also featured sales of Navajo tacos and donuts to help cover the medical costs of Officer Jared Stock, who experienced a medical emergency in June and is still recovering.

Children compete in a dance-off in Berg Park on Oct. 4 during the National Night Out celebration presented by the Farmington Police Department.

This year's event was dedicated to the goal of destigmatizing mental illness and celebrating recovery.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.