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  • Eastern District’s National Night Out returns for its fourth installment on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company.
    File Photo
    Eastern District’s National Night Out returns for its fourth installment on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company.
  • Eastern District’s National Night Out returns for its fourth installment on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company.
    File Photo
    Eastern District’s National Night Out returns for its fourth installment on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company.

National Night Out Builds Bridges Between Police, Residents

Zach Sparks
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June 27, 2018

From a distance, National Night Out resembles a carnival — children’s games dotting a parking lot, a dunking booth, hordes of people shuffling from table to table — but beyond the entertainment, the annual rain-or-shine event reinforces an important message: communities are safest when citizens and police work together.

When the Eastern District’s National Night Out returns for its fourth installment on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company, organizers hope to see another 2,000-person turnout, as has been the trend since its inception.

“In Eastern District, we have a ton of support from the community,” said Lieutenant Fred Crosse, who emphasized that the event is planned by the community and supported by the police department. “The feedback is that it’s a great family atmosphere and it gives kids a fun way to play games and win some prizes.”

As in past years, K-9 dogs will be onsite along with vehicles and static displays.

“There will be a chance for people to see the gear officers don during civil disturbance issues,” Crosse said. “… One [tool] shows how fingerprint dust, if you touch a piece of paper, how fibers connect with the oils of your fingers. And we’ll have the mobile command center, which is used in extraordinary circumstances. It has electronics, TVs, and we have the ability to live-stream cameras.”

While those displays showcase how police serve the community, Crosse said it’s equally important to remind people how their efforts are a vital part of public safety.

“We get countless tips on social media,” Crosse said. “With the help of neighborhood watches and neighborhood associations, it allows people to help us catch the bad guys committing crimes in those areas.”

Eastern District includes Severna Park, Arnold, Cape St. Claire, Millersville, Pasadena, Curtis Bay and a portion of Glen Burnie. Steering committee members and businesses from those areas partner to make National Night Out a success.

One of those businesses is the Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi, which provides demonstrations. Kids can anticipate face painting and about 15 games: duck pond, fishbowl toss, balloon dart toss, milk bottle toss — about 15 games in all.

Some come with a bonus. “We spend about $2,000 on prizes that we give away thanks to our corporate sponsors,” said Sam Tanner, a Riviera Beach resident who handles site management and games.

Each year, Tanner brings a basketball game with an electronic scoreboard and a homemade game that involves using Nerf guns to shoot cans with printed pictures of villains.

Children and adults can all enjoy the photo booth and an array of food: pizza, hot dogs, sliders, ice cream, popcorn and snack bars.

Sponsoring the event this year are the Greater Severna Park Council, the Greater Pasadena Council, the Cape St. Claire Improvement Association, the Broadneck Council of Communities, the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce, the Pasadena Business Association, the Office of the County Executive, the Anne Arundel County Council, the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Firefighters Association, the Anne Arundel Police Department, and the Eastern District Police-Community Relations Council.

Event organizers expect the evening to be a fun and informative night for all ages.

“We want to continue to establish bonds and allow people to see police in a different light and how much work goes into it,” Crosse said. “In the end, we’re here to protect them.”

To volunteer or donate to the event, contact John Spencer at 410-245-2026.


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