Public safety orgs ready for 3rd Badges and Brews

The event is growing year by year

As the summer (notionally) begins, local, county and state public safety organizations prepare to take part in the third annual Badges and Brews in Aberdeen next Tuesday.

The event, first held in 2022, has grown since its beginnings at the Starbucks in East Aberdeen. The event will go from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on June 4, and is free, with parking across the street in the Tractor Supply parking lot.

“This is the third year with badges and brews, with the combined police and fire,” said Sgt. Gary Sexton of the Aberdeen Police Department, who helps organize the event each year. “The intent here is about summer safety. We want it early in the summer. Our goal is before school got out. Families will still be around and can make it to the event.”

This year’s event will be the largest yet, Sexton said.

“Starbucks is hosting this. But it’s really turned into a community-wide event,” Sexton said. “It’s about connecting people in the community. That’s what an event like this does.” This year’s event will see more agencies take part, Sexton said, including fire and police agencies from Montesano to the Washington State Patrol to the Department of Natural Resources’ local wildfire specialists, as well as several police dogs.

A number of local businesses, including Aaron’s, Cellular Sales, Tractor Supply and Taco Bell, are also taking part, with vendors offering food this year, Sexton said.

“Aaron’s this year is going to be grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. There’s going to be some food vendors there,” Sexton said. “As it grows, it just kind of organically grows. The framework for the event, we know what has worked in the past or what hasn’t. We can make minor tweaks and still allow the event to grow.”

Fire departments will be focusing on preparing guests for the upcoming summer, Sexton said.

“Each of the fire departments have kind of taken an area. One will talk about fireworks safety. One will talk about swimming safety. One will talk about heat safety,” Sexton said. “Our animal control officers will talk about pet safety, not forgetting about the pets.”

While the businesses will still be open, the parking lots of Aaron’s, Cellular Sales, and Starbucks will be closed beginning at 3:30 p.m. for the event. The Starbucks drive thru will also be closed during the event, Sexton said.

“It’s really not going to kick off till 5:30. I think the parking lots are going to close at 3:30 to make room for set up,” Sexton said. “All the businesses are still open.”

Nearly 100 people took part in last year’s event, Sexton said, and this year is expected to be larger. Sexton thanked Jaki Meeks, head of the local Starbucks store, for inviting agencies to take part.

“We thank Starbucks and Aaron’s and Verizon for donating their space,” Sexton said. “I thank Jaki for inviting us to participate. Jaki really believes in it, getting the community together.”

Getting the community together is the largest part of this, Sexton said.

“I enjoy the whole event. I enjoy being able to interact with the community at a different level, in a different atmosphere. I enjoy seeing the kids excitement for the police car and the police dogs,” Sexton said. “I feel that events like this really do take down barriers when you get police and fire out of their buildings and they’re out in the community that they serve. I think it makes the community feel that we’re more approachable.”

Sexton said the event is going ahead regardless of the possibility of rainy weather.

“It’s going rain or shine. We’re trusting for good weather,” Sexton said. “We’re doing it. Bring an umbrella. You can always go on inside and warm up with a cup of coffee.”

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or