Last Night Out ends with bang

SAUKVILLE POLICE OFFICER EMILY NEESE (top photo) has organized the National Night Out event every year since 2007. Tuesday’s event was her last as her last day with the force is Sunday. Henry Saffrom, (middle photo) enjoyed interacting with police and their equipment while fire fighter Reid Raczynski (bottom) greeted Preston Smith. Photos by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Emily Neese has spent many a night out, but for a good cause.

For 13 years she has been the lead organizer of the National Night Out event in Saukville.

Tuesday’s Night Out at Grady Park was her last, as this Sunday will be her last day with the Saukville Police Department, where she has served the past 15 years.

In 2007, she approached then-chief Bill Meloy with the idea of organizing the event, which is national in scope and aims to connect the community to local law enforcement.

“I got it in my head that it would be a fun event for our area,” Neese said. “I asked him if we could do it and I would do the fundraising and he said, ‘Yes, go ahead.’”

Neese said that first year she got a lot of help from her family and friends. 

It was a lot of work, but it happened.

“It was so much fun, it was like, ‘We gotta keep this going,’” she said.

The Saukville event draws representatives from most law enforcement agencies in Ozaukee County, local fire departments, plus the State Patrol and federal agencies such as the FBI and the Flight for Life helicopter.

It also includes fun activities for children.

“The Ozaukee County community really comes together,” Neese said. “It really breaks down a lot of barriers. 

“A little kid might be afraid to talk to you when they see you on the street or in the store,  but none of them are afraid at National Night Out. Parents and kids feel so comfortable and they ask all the questions they have in the back of their heads,” she said. 

One of her most memorable moments was in the event’s 10th year when the Coast Guard sent a helicopter.

“We had not thought they were going to do it and Flight for Life came in at the same time,” she said. “So the (Coast Guard) crew member was hanging out the door of the helicopter and here comes Flight for Life. It was one of the most stressful but fun things ever.”

Two other memorable occasions were those when she was pregnant with her two sons. Once she was past her due date.

“They had to cart me around in a UTV,” she said.

Other communities have National Night Out celebrations, but Neese said Saukville’s is one of the biggest and best attended in the area. 

“Ours is significantly bigger than many, including in bigger cities like in Sheboygan and Manitowoc,” she said. “We definitely have more participation. We have all the departments coming together.”

One of the main goals of each event, Neese said, is that it be free for families and children. 

“I wanted the families to come out and enjoy the entire time and not worry about buying tickets for the bounce house or buying food,” she said. “The businesses in Saukville and others have really stepped up and completely funded the event from the beginning.”

Tuesday’s event was the best attended ever, she said.

“We sold 900 hot dogs by 7 p.m.,” she said. “It usually takes at least until 8 p.m.”

Laurie Miske, the administrative assistant to Chief Robert Meyer, has been in charge of concessions the last few years and will help head up future National Nights Out, Neese said.

Meyer praised Neese’s work with National Night Out.

“She has done a phenomenal job with it throughout the years,” he said. “Her dedication to this community event is nothing short of remarkable and a huge asset to the law enforcement community throughout Ozaukee County.”

“I’m good at planning parties and that’s what this is,” Neese said.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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