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Marana first responders renew hoops rivalry, welcome neighbors back to ‘National Night Out’

Marana police officers and firefighters get ready to tip off their annual basketball game after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
Posted at 11:07 PM, Oct 01, 2021

MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Marana Police Department and Northwest Fire District converged on Friday night, but not to respond to an emergency.

The first responders held their first large public event since the pandemic began, welcoming neighbors to their ‘National Night Out’ event at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park.

“People come out here, they can see what we do and they get a better understanding of how we respond,” said Northwest Fire District Captain Colt Jackson.

MPD community resource officer Ashley Espinoza said the face-to-face interaction makes the “partnership” between the community and its police department stronger.

“Building that relationship with them, to let them know that we are here for them,” she said.

COVID-19 canceled last year’s ‘National Night Out’ event, which typically takes place nationwide in August but happens during the cooler fall months in Marana. The town has hosted the event since 2017.

Firefighters rappelled off an engine’s ladder and showed off rescue techniques and flashing lights. They also discussed fire safety with community members.

“It really puts a face to who your emergency services are,” said Bob Stinson, Marana’s recreation superintendent. “We get ‘em out here in the community. They’re shaking kids’ hands, they’re meeting people. I think it just does great things for the community.”

“A lot of the times when we have interactions with people, it’s one of the toughest times they’ve ever experienced,” Jackson added. “To be able to see these people in a happy time and show them what we’re doing… a real fun way to educate the community.”

These police officers and firefighters also renewed a friendly rivalry on the basketball court.

Their annual basketball game returned for the fourth time. The teams play for pride—and a trophy.

“There’s always competition between police and fire [departments],” Jackson said. “We work so closely together. So it’s kind of fun to see each other in a different atmosphere. Kind of have that camaraderie and that kind of competition between the two of us.”

“It’s all fun. But we like that we have this night to kind of get together with each other and show the community a little friendly competition,” Espinoza said.

MPD won Friday night's game 32-31, and is now 4-0 against their friends at Northwest Fire.