For once sirens, screams a welcome sight at Mills Park |

For once sirens, screams a welcome sight at Mills Park

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Madi McKee, 5, left, of Casron City cries out of fright and is comforted by her mother Kim McKee and Carson City Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member Charyl Keen while her sister Courtney McKee, 7, crawls on the ground during the smoke demostration inside the Carson City Fire Department All Hazards Safety House at the National Night Out event at Mills Park on Tuesday.

Harking back to the values of a simpler time may not have been the official theme of Carson City’s National Night Out – but more than 3,000 residents who attended the event Tuesday evening at Mills Park may disagree.

The gathering, which featured 44 exhibits from local law enforcement and protection agencies, brought out Carson families to enjoy the sound of sirens and the sight of emergency vehicles and personnel; all welcomed the chance to meet with residents in a nonemergency setting.

The annual event, sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch, has a local theme: “Good-bye crime and drugs, hello to a safe Carson City.”

“So often when we arrive people aren’t having the best time, like they are here,” said Sheriff’s deputy Brian Humphry, who was a smash hit with his “partner” for the evening – a 2-year-old golden retriever named Teddy.

Teddy, who recently completed training as a drug-sniffing dog, joined the sheriff’s department last month. As Humphry looked at the small line of children gathering to meet Teddy, he nodded in approval.

“The great thing about Teddy is he’s a hard-working dog, yet he’s great with the public,” Humphry said. “We plan to use him not only in the field, but for our educational programs – from kindergarten all the way up.

“Kids can relate to this dog so easily.”

Indeed, for sisters Shianne and Jessica Miller, Teddy was the only show in town.

“I liked seeing the dog the best,” Shianne, 8, said. “Oh, yeah, and Smokey the Bear. But the dog was the best.”

Mother Stacie Miller said she enjoyed her kids’ exposure to the dog as well as a quick lesson in what his job will be.

“I really think they got a lot out of what the sheriff had to say about meth, and what the dogs’ role will be,” Miller said. “It’s important – meth is such a problem here, at any age it’s important they connect and learn.”

Other hits of the evening included a giant wooden tripod set up by Nevada Search and Rescue. Hanging from the center of the beamed structure was a basket where children were able to hoist one another up using a pulley system.

The makeshift ride drew raucous screams of appreciation from the kids being hoisted up on a basket, and nods of appreciation from Search and Rescue crews.

“We call it the tripod of death,” joked Jeanette Famoso, a unit member of Search and Rescue. “Actually, this is an important device. It shows some of the knots we use when we’re belaying up and down the side of the mountain.”

Famoso mirrored comments from community service saying National Night Out is a chance for agencies to show residents what they do, in a noncrisis moment.

“Just a few days ago, four or five of us went out and found someone stuck in a vehicle,” she said. “People here can see what we do before they’re in that situation.”

Even service providers brought their families out to see what they do.

Jason Foster from the Nevada Division of Forestry brought his children, Logan, 5, and Ashley, 8, out to meet some of his contemporaries.

And though both Logan and Ashley agreed that dad’s job was great, Logan got a better idea Tuesday about what he wanted to be.

“SWAT,” he said. “SWAT, SWAT, SWAT – I watch the movie every day at my friend’s house, and they’re right over there.”

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.