FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Water balloon fights, prizes, and free food- that’s how Valley kids celebrated National Night Out with local police officers Tuesday night.

The annual campaign is a community-building effort put on by law enforcement agencies across the nation.

“We can throw water balloons at each other, we can laugh, we’re approachable,” said Fresno PD Cpt. David Ramos. “I think that breaks down a lot of the barriers. People feel comfortable coming to us, where prior to an event like this, they may not have felt comfortable.”

Police say the annual event gives them an opportunity to connect with the community.

“I’ve been here for about an hour so far and I’ve already answered probably 50 to 60 questions just about different crime-related issues in the neighborhood,” said Ramos. 

It was a chance for kids to let loose, too.

“They’re here doing water balloon fights with the kids, we have a slip and slide, a splash pad,” said Samantha Paredes with East Fresno Boys and Girls Club; the organization partnered with PD for the event. 

Kids walked away with prizes, too, including backpacks and bikes.

In Selma, the new police chief also met with community members on his second day on the job.

“Events such as this where they’re more casual might allow someone to be more inclined to talk to us,” said Chief Rudy Alcaraz. 

And Selma Fire got to show off some stuff, too.

“We have a forced entry door prop, so it gives the kids and folks in the community, show them a little bit of what we do, how we force a door if there was a fire,” said Fire Cpt. Jesse Gomez. “We also brought in our new ladder truck that we recently received.”