National Night Out celebration draws hundreds
Jonathan Grossi, 3, of Carson City, could barely peek over the table at the Explorer Cadets’ fingerprinting booth Tuesday in Mills Park during the National Night Out celebration.
Jonathan surveyed the scene, his lips pursed, as Assistant Commander Jeff Scott of the Carson City Sheriff’s Department’s Uniform Reservists patiently inked the boy’s tiny fingers and rolled them onto a fingerprint card.
“This is just in case something happens,” said his mother, Shannon Grossi, about the fingerprinting.
Her other children, Mariah Davis, 9, and Marissa Davis, 11, also were fingerprinted. The oldest, 14-year-old Michael, opted out.
The booth was one of about a dozen during what Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong vowed will be a yearly event hosted by his department.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see every agency involved in this. It’s phenomenal,” Furlong said. “The turnout proves there is a lot of effort within in the community to stamp out crime.”
Members of the National Guard, Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Division of Investigation, Secret Witness, Explorer Cadets, Red Cross, Carson City Fire Department and REMSA talked about their jobs or just shot the breeze with hundreds of people.
The biggest line, however, was at the Salvation Army truck, where volunteers handed out hotdogs and drinks.
Children left with blackened fingers and bags of goodies, from rulers to key chains to Frisbees and punching balloons, all emblazoned with the Sheriff’s Department logo or anti-drug messages.
Furlong said the event is designed to heighten crime awareness and drug-use prevention and generate support for local anti-crime efforts. The community-policing partnership hopes to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
The best part for 8-year-old Ethan Schriner, who said he’d like to be a police officer when he grows up, was the National Guard Chinook helicopter in the middle of the park.
“That was really cool,” he said after touring the inside.
His brother Jake, 9, said the best part was the Highway Patrol motorcycles he and his siblings sat on for photographs.
“I liked the bikes,” he said.
Sister Taryn, 7, had a different idea of cool.
“This is fun because we get balloons and stuff,” she explained.
Co-sponsoring the event was the National Association of Town Watch, which involves more than 9,800 communities around the world. Tuesday’s celebration was expected to include about 33 million people, including Canadians.
Other sponsors were the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Nevada Office of Criminal Justice Assistance.