By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County
Communities across Montgomery County reported record turnouts for National Night Out in the wake of last week’s murder of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwai.
Montgomery City officials said Tuesday night’s event was one of the biggest turnouts ever for the city. It was held at Cedar Brake Park.
“I think that’s due to what people have seen on the news in the last few days, with the officer in Harris County that was shot,” said Montgomery Police Chief Anthony Solomon.” “They’re bringing out and showing support for officers, and we’re trying to show support for the community.”
Chief Solomon met Deputy Dhaliwai a couple of months ago.
“I met him and I talked with him – a really, really nice man,” Solomon told Bluebonnet News. “You got that impression from the first time you met him.”
When Solomon first saw the news about Dhaliwai being murdered, he was at the funeral service of an officer who he worked with in Tomball.
“I got that text and once I pulled a picture up and I had saw it was him, I thought, ‘Oh man, not him,'” said Solomon. “We try and do a lot. He was one of those guys that really, really got out there and did a lot for the community.”
Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman said Montgomery is a tight-knit community.
“A lot of our officers were affected by the murder, and that’s something that when they get their uniforms on every day that they’re challenged and faced with,” said Countryman. “It becomes very real when one of their own falls, especially so close to home.”
Countryman said she loved seeing the residents come out Tuesday night, supporting the law enforcement and the emergency services group.
There was a strong show of community support at Conroe’s National Night Out, which was held at a different location – Kroger Shopping Center off the South Loop.
Conroe Police Chief Jeff Christy said last week’s murder of Deputy Dhaliwai was a tragedy, and is horrible for his profession and law enforcement in general.
“The outpouring of support that that community has down there for that officer is shown here tonight,” Christy said. “I mean there’s a lot of people here. I think there is more than we’ve ever had. It’s a great location. It’s really been a great event.”
The young kids enjoyed all the displays law enforcement agencies and first responders had at the event.
Maria Contreras and her young daughter attended Conroe’s event.
“It’s awesome, I mean it’s a good way for the community to come together to get to meet our police officers here in Montgomery County or in Conroe,” said Contreras.
Conroe City Councilman Jody Czajkoski brought his young son to the event.
“A lot of the residents and people in our community, a lot of times the only time they see the fire and police is when something bad has taken place,” Czajkoski said. “So it’s (the event) wonderful so they can see the equipment, get to know these guys and realize they’re just normal Americans like you and me.”