The citizens of Neosho had a chance to get a closer look at the inner workings of their city government on Wednesday, when the Neosho City Hall hosted their second annual open house, in conjunction with the Missouri Municipal League's Local Government Week.
The open house, which ran from 1 to 4 p.m., featured informational booths from each of the city's departments, including police, fire, public works and code enforcement.
Wes Franklin, the city's public relations and events coordinator, said the event was held to show the citizens of Neosho the daily operations of their local government.
"We wanted to throw an open house just to invite the citizens in and show the citizens what we do day-to-day," Franklin said. "Every department has a booth set up with information and displays just showing a little bit of how their particular department serves the citizens of Neosho."
In addition to learning more about the city, citizens also had the chance to meet some of their local heroes, as members of the Neosho Fire Department and Neosho Police Department were on hand to man their department's booths.
At the Neosho Fire Department's booth, attendees could see the difference between a 1960s nozzle and a modern nozzle. They also had a new smoke detector on display.
"We've got a modern smoke detector that actually talks to you," said Fire Chief Mike Eads. "You can actually program your own voice into it and tell your kids to get up. Studies have been done that show that kids will wake up to their parent's voice over just the chirping smoke detector."
At the Neosho Police Department's booth, attendees could see a search-warrant camera, a shield, and two mobile device terminals; the laptops used in police cars.
School Resource Officer Dustin Whitehill said mobile device terminals, or MDTs, are utilized by officers to communicate with one another, as well as with central dispatch.
"When we get dispatched to calls this is what gives us our information," Whitehill said. "That way while we're in route we can look at that and tell where we're supposed to go, they can give us all the information and we know before we get to the call what's going on."
Whitehill said the MDTs are also used when issuing tickets.
"We have our, it's called NCIC, basically it's our ticketing system, in traffic stops it will give us our information for our vehicle, and give us information for our drivers, show us if they have possible warrants, and stuff like that," Whitehill explained.
At the next booth over, a wooden water pipe from the late 1800s was on display at the Public Works table, as well as a rusted cast-iron pipe, installed in the early 1900s and removed just one month ago from the area of High and North Street.
Page 2 of 2 - Mike Hightower, public works director, also showed attendees a new pipe, which the crews from Rosetta Construction have been working all over town to install as part of the city's voter-approved $9.5 million water improvement project.
Beverly Bartels, a Neosho resident, attended Wednesday's open house to learn what her options are when disposing of items such as paint and an old television.
She talked with code enforcement officer John Harrington, who manned the code enforcement and recycling center booths Wednesday afternoon.
"They've been really helpful," Bartels said. "I've been trying to find out more about recycling. I'm glad I came this year."
Franklin said Wednesday's open house was intended to allow residents to put a face to the city of Neosho.
"People may get used to hearing from or seeing department heads, but a lot of the people that are here today are the rank and file from each department," Franklin said. "It's good for the citizens to meet them as well, to see a face with the city."