Thousands gathered in Mills Park Tuesday night to celebrate a collaboration between the community and local law enforcement for the 14th annual National Night Out.
Law enforcement and public safety agencies from all across Northern Nevada set up booths and tables in the capital city park to showcase themselves to the community. The Carson City Sheriff’s Office had every department present, from SWAT to its VIP program. The Carson City Fire Department also was present with a number of fire engines. There also were agencies from Sparks, Washoe, and Tribal police departments as well as Nevada Highway Patrol and Department of Corrections.
The theme of the event was “Partnership in Action,” in order to showcase how different entities in the community work together with residents and law enforcement to keep everyone safe.
“This was enormously successful and at a year like this where events like this are more important than ever,” said Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong. “It is absolutely essential that people see public safety in its entirety and not just in uniforms.”
There were more than just law enforcement agents present at the event, a variety of organizations that work for public safety also were there, such as Advocates to End Domestic Violence from Carson and Washoe, NDOT, ADT Security and the Ron Wood Family Resource Center.
“This year, public safety just blossomed,” Furlong said. “It is just amazing and this is where ground is gained, not on the streets, but in the park.”
Officials agreed it was important for the public to see that public safety includes more than just police and fire, and how having all of the entities is what keeps the community safe.
“Every year the community sees it, us out working together,” said Jim Wright, of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. “You can tell that every booth is linked directly and that why what we have is special.”
Representatives from the Department of Business and Industry Nevada Consumer Affairs were one to the community partners at the event, trying to warn people of the dangers of scams that have been plaguing the community lately.
“We are here to protect the consumers and businesses,” said Compliance Audit Investigator James Gast.
The department is looking to start a partnership with the Sheriff’s Office to help detect and spread awareness about common scams going on.
“We are just trying to tighten up the community so that no one is getting ripped off,” Gast said. “We are here to inform the public on scams because as long as people know about it, they can be better protected.”
For Gast and the department, getting to participate in the event is good for everyone because it showcases others in the community who also are working to keep the public safe.
“It is awesome, this is the first time we have done (National Night Out), and we have been to another outreach program, but this is more beneficial because there are so many of us participating,” Gast said.
Several community officials were present to speak at the event and keep the crowds engaged. Mayor Bob Crowell, Deputy Fire Chief Tom Traulli, District Attorney Jason Woodbury and representatives from Sen. Dean Heller’s office, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office, Sen. Harry Reid’s office and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
There also were lots of activities for kids of all ages, from a tug of war with the Search and Rescue team, to an obstacle course with SWAT, a climbing rock wall with the United States Army, to getting to tour a number of vehicles provided by the United States National Guard, Reno Police Department and Department of Corrections.
For 9-year-old Olivia Kramer, when asked what her favorite part about National Night Out was, she said “everything!”
“I just wanted her to be around law enforcement and feel comfortable around them,” said her father Jonathan Martin.
Olivia said she was nervous about talking with the officers at first but wasn’t as scared by the end of the night.
“I love it,” Olivia said.
For 6-year-old Hunter Nicholas, getting to experience the face-painting booth was his favorite part. For his father, Brandon, the event offered a good small town camaraderie.
“We came last year and had a good time so we decided to come again,” Brandon said. “It is awesome, it is part of why we moved here to be in that small town feel because you come to things like this and always run into people you recognize.”
Furlong said having the community come out and support their event couldn’t have come at a better time, with police in an unfavorable light in the country.
“This is so timely and it is incredible,” Furlong said. “I just have to give credit to our organizer Lisa Davis for her forward thinking and countless hours she put into this.”