Michael Dalaly displays the authentic 1960s police car he and his friend and coworker Bill Duggan built from a 1963 Ford Galaxie. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Michael Dalaly displays the authentic 1960s police car he and his friend and coworker Bill Duggan built from a 1963 Ford Galaxie. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

First responders live it up at Orland’s National Night Out

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By Isabella Schreck

With a helicopter overhead, police cars and fire trucks to climb into, free giveaways, food, and music, Orland Park’s annual National Night Out looked like it had something for all ages.

Residents agreed.

“The free hots dogs, the helicopter flying and seeing all of the different vendors makes it a fun event to take the family to,” Michael Smit, of Orland Park, said.

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Community service officers Gabriella Turner and Malik Shaikhali gave people tours of the SUV police cars residents see around town.

The Orland Park Police Department celebrated the event Tuesday night, along with police departments across the country.

Businesses, including Target, Meijer, Marcus Theater and Walgreens, lined the field next to the Village Center. Booth workers handed out sunglasses, Frisbees, notepads and even drawstring bags. Some had popcorn for children, others offered water to combat the 84-degree heat.

Chuy’s and Joey’s Red Hots, both out of Orland Park, brought free food to the event while a DJ played music and held games for kids.

The police and fire department showed off their vehicles. The Illinois National Guard flew a helicopter to the field behind the event during the first hour of the event. Later, the crowd saw the police department’s K9 officer named Maverick at work in a drug-finding simulation.

“It’s really nice because it gives the community a chance to come interact with the police on a friendly-type basis,” said Orland Park Police Sgt. Richard Whalen, who planned the event. “It’s very informal. People can come ask us questions. We can hear their concerns and things that are happening in their neighborhood.”

Whalen is a sergeant in the Investigations Division.

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The Orland Park Fire Department joined the event with its firetruck, allowing people to climb in and see what it’s like to be a firefighter.

Michael Dalaly, supervisor of the Detention Center, displayed a 1963 Ford Galaxie car he and former Orland Park officer, Bill Duggan, had turned into a drivable 1960s police car, complete with a working siren and flashing top light.

“We got it done in under five weeks,” Dalaly said. “Bill also did body work, and I’ve been working on cars forever as well as being with the police. It was absolutely the best doing it.”

Members of the police department also commented on the village’s newest crime numbers.

According to the Public Safety section of the 2022 Orland Park Summer Newsletter, the village’s crime index is at its lowest in 27 years.

Whalen noted the departments youth supervision program at Orland Square Mall, where after 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, shoppers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older, as a major deterrent to crime. The policy began early last year.

Deputy Police Chief Brian West attributed the low numbers to residents’ awareness.

“It’s the backing of the village board and also the backing of the public,” West. “We cannot be everywhere at once, but our residents are our eyes and ears. When they see something, they say something, and that allows us to address the problem.”

West emphasized that his department is here to help the community with minor or major instances.

“We’re here,” he said. “We never close, and we’re available 24/7. If people ever need anything, call us.”

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An Illinois National Guard helicopter made an appearance at Orland Park’s National Night Out.

1 Comment

  1. SUSIEQ S. on August 6, 2022 at 7:29 am

    I lived in orlabd Park for a long time until I moved to oak forest about 8 months ago. I felt safe in Orland Park plus the Orland Park Police department will always help you and there concern for the safety of the community is astounding. I am thankful because I got to know most of the officer. To theOrland Park Police Officers YOU ROCK. keep in up for more years to come.



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