Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Wayne Barnett
With lights and sirens blaring, fire trucks, police cars and Special Reaction Team vehicles filled the parking lot of the Fort Carson Youth Services Center Aug 2.
No, the youths were not revolting; instead, the Directorate of Emergency Services was hosting its National Night Out Against Crime.
The event was attended by hundreds of community members who participated in several safety demonstrations, including operating a golf cart through a series of cones while wearing “drunk goggles.”
Community members also participated in fire safety exercises run by Fort Carson firefighters.
“We came here tonight to provide training to the community for kitchen and fire safety, also evacuation training and plans for children and adults to get out of their house in case of an emergency,” said Aaron Crossett, Fort Carson firefighter.
Soldiers and members of Fort Carson’s DES were on hand to answer community concerns.
“This was the police as people don’t often see them, reaching out to the community, explaining what they do and taking part in the fun,” said Carl McPherson, director of operations, DES. “That was precisely the point of the event. The police wanted to put a human face on their work, and encourage partnerships with community groups.”
Introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out is an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts, according to the association’s website.
“This is a good opportunity for Drug Abuse Resistance Education to get the word out and talk about crime prevention in the neighborhoods,” said 2nd Lt. Marcus Farmer, 759th Military Police Battalion.
The 759th MP Bn. participated in the event with its “drive smart” seat belt demonstrator, which simulates the effects of hitting a solid object at 7 miles per hour, stressing the use of seat belts even in low speed crashes.
Wildlife Conservation Law Enforcement officials gave away fishing poles for those getting a bull’s-eye in a casting demonstration, and offered tips about wildlife and wilderness safety.
According to the website, National Night Out activities have expanded over the years to include block parties, cookouts, safety fairs and contests.
“This is really great to get everybody in the community together,” said Misty Schliefert, a Fort Carson resident.