National Night Out unifies community
August 13, 2009
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Twelve different agencies, whose jobs are to protect the Soldiers, civilians and family members in the garrison communities, came together in Heidelberg Aug. 4 to celebrate National Night Out.
National Night Out is an event designed to bring neighbors together, to get to know their local law enforcement agencies and to give crime a going away party, said Sgt. Andrew Metzinger, who coordinated the event for the Directorate of Emergency Services.
"It's a good thing for the kids to see what the community has," said Sgt. Alexander Garcia, who brought his sons out, "not only on post with the military police, but off post with the local police. So the kids get familiar with the Polizei and how they work."
Garcia said he was curious after seeing the advertising and hearing it on the radio, but mostly he came because the event took place right outside his window.
The event was held in the center of Patrick Henry Village, among family housing and playgrounds.
"For our very first one, it was a success," Metzinger said. "I know a lot of agencies that were out there ... were impressed. They were really excited. They liked a chance to get to talk to the military and the kids."
Garcia said during an ice cream break, he thought his kids were having fun. His oldest son, Alexander Jose, won some Legos from the U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg Fire and Emergency Services.
The Polizei had several vehicles and a pair of horses at the event, and the children seemed to enjoy using the loud speaker in the police cruisers the most.
"The kids were all excited about crawling over (the Polizei) tank, and the horses and motorcycles," Metzinger said.
"I hope they do this every year," Garcia said.
Metzinger said they do plan to have National Night Out next year and hope for more agencies and more community members.
"Not only did it build our community spirit, it let people know our host nation is part of keeping us safe, too," Metzinger said. "They are part of our law enforcement team."
(Editor's Note: Jason Austin writes for the USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg newspaper, the Herald Post.)