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> Chief's run taking place
post Aug 1 2007, 12:02 PM
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'Chief's Run' Motors On
For the second year in a row, event kicks off National Night Out Against Crime.

Amanda Haverstick
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - Motorists may have noticed a caravan of motorcyclists, some wearing badges and uniforms, riding through LaPorte County on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chief's Run kicked off Michigan City's National Night Out Against Crime celebration. About 20 motorcycles joined the run.

Michigan City Police Chief Ben Neitzel, who led the cruise, said the event began last year to get more involvement in National Night Out.

"Since we have motorcycles on the force and I'm an enthusiast, I thought, 'Let's try the Chief's Run'," Neitzel said. "We ended up having 30 bikes last year. Everybody gave us positive comments. They seemed to enjoy it."

Neitzel said National Night Out aims to make the public aware of how they can work with officers to curb crime.

"Some cities participate. Many do not. Primarily it's to spotlight and focus on crime issues with the community and really try to get the community to band together," Neitzel said. "Crime is kind of a mutual thing. It's a public and police marriage. It requires both of us to be effective. If one part fails, then the whole things just collapses."

The ride also serves as a fundraiser. This year, proceeds went to the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City.

Joining in the run were members of the MCPD, the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department, the Blue Knights - a law enforcement motorcycle group - and community members. Participants started at Washington Park and rode into the county.

The event ended about an hour later with the group returning on Wabash Street.

Sheriff's Deputy Andy Hynek said he joined the run to support the community and the Michigan City Police Department.

"I just think it's a good tool to bring community members together with local law enforcement officers," Hynek said. "Often times, there's this invisible barrier between the two. Events like this assist in bringing down that barrier."

In the past, Neitzel said, the police department tried other types of National Night Out events, but they were not well participated by the neighborhood groups.

"In today's society, a lot of people are very busy," he said. "Both parents work jobs, and sometimes it's just hard to get people motivated for whatever reason."

Neitzel said he would like to see more community groups involved in the event.

"We're trying to see if we can promote (National Night Out) this way and see if we can get a lot more people involved," Neitzel said. "If it grows then we can do other things."

Contact reporter Amanda Haverstick at ahaverstick@thenewsdispatch.com
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Roger Kaputnik
post Aug 1 2007, 01:33 PM
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They should do this at night in keeping with the theme.

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