'National Night Out' remembered as a favorite for Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan

Artist Duane King has sculpted a bust of Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan.
National Night Out
National Night OUt
National Night Out

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) – Police and first responders across central Indiana hosted the communitiy for the annual National Night Out Tuesday.

People visiting the Greenwood Community Center Tuesday were welcomed by police and local businesses.

“High five,” said a talking fire department robot to some enthusiastic young kids.

“What advice are you giving kids today?” we asked robot firedog Sparky, as he rode around in his mechanical fire truck.

Sparky answered, “Sleep with your bedroom door closed, check your smoke detectors, have an exit plan.”

Reaching out to the youngest Greenwood citizens and everyone else, building a tighter public safety bond. That’s what National Night Out is designed to do.

“Where I come from, this is kind of like my first year here in Greenwood. So what I’ve seen them do, it’s like fabulous this is great,” said National Night Out visitor Tora Smith.

She’s glad to see cops and kids - adults too - build ties.

For one mom, Amanda Milsho, who is on crutches, juggling the kids and their drinks is a challenge, but she says “they’ve been a little afraid of the police officers, so we thought we would come out and just see the police and get a little bit more comfortable with them...Especially if they get lost, they know to go to a uniformed officer.“

The Greenwood event was staged inside the city community center just in case heavy rains fell.

But a few miles north in Southport, it stayed dry and National Night Out stayed outside.

“The roasted corn, the Texas chili and the pulled pork,“ Chef Red Earles IV rattled off what’s cooking inside the giant outdoor gas grill. Cooking up community here, outside the old city hall and police station.

Southport Police Chief Thomas Vaughn says the people he serves “really lost somebody they knew. To them it was a family member.“

Local sculptor, Duane King with bust of Lt. Aaron Allan. (WTHR Photo/Dave MacAnnally)

Just over a year ago, Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan was killed by a gunman in the line of duty. His chief says this was one of Allan’s favorite events.

"This whole community supported us through the last year," said Chief Vaughn. "Still by our side. Some of them still bring us food."

A bond tightened by tragedy.

Standing in front of his grill, Earles remembered the draining experience and said “hopefully we don’t have to experience one of those ever again.“

Artist Duane King sat inside the Southport community center, busy with his sculpting tools.

“I was trying to capture his personality,” he said, looking at the green clay bust of a man that almost seemed to be watching the kids playing and the neighbors mingling.

King has worked on the bust of Aaron Allan for nearly a year. It’s an incredible likeness.

“Most people said he never liked the dress uniform, so we went with the casual uniform. Give him a hint of a smile because he was a fun guy," King said.

An officer who carved out a place in neighbor’s hearts.

Neighbors have formed the Aaron Allan memorial sculpture project to raise money to have the bust bronzed.