Patriot Village residents Laura Cooper and her son Daren, 9, chat with Directorate of Emergency Services Police Officer Nicole Hall at the Crime Prevention Unit display table during National Night Out 2010 activities at the Community Policing "McGruff House" Aug. 3

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Aberdeen Proving Ground Families took in an abundance of crime-fighting equipment and displays during the National Night Out Against Crime 2010 hosted by the U.S. Army Garrison APG Directorate of Emergency Services at the Community Oriented Policing "McGruff House" in Patriot Village Aug. 3.

National Night Out is observed with events in neighborhoods nationwide as a deterrent against crime and drug abuse.

Participants included the Army Substance Abuse Program, Army Community Service, the APG Emergency Operations Center and Picerne Military Housing. In addition, DES firefighters and emergency medical personnel gave tours of emergency vehicles, distributed fire prevention information and demonstrated its Weather Smart trailer, which teaches how to escape a smoke-filled building.

Community Police Officer Mike "Big Mike" Farlow expressed his thanks to all participants, including the volunteers who cooked and prepared the food and refreshments.

"This is just one of the many programs that the Community Policing Office provides to better serve the community," he said. "Programs like this allow the community to meet police officers in a friendly environment.

"We're very fortunate to have a great relationship with the other APG community-oriented organizations who came together to make this event possible." "These are always great events that give the community a chance to meet and interact with their APG first responders," added Robert Krauer, the APG Director of Emergency Services.

"I'm always gratified to see the various organizations partner with DES in community focused events.

"A lot of hard work behind the scenes goes into these functions," he added. "We try to make them fun and informative and make the public we serve aware that their police and fire departments are truly here to serve them, day in and day out."

DES police officer Amber Holdford hosted the NetSmart display. NetSmart teaches children how to avoid dangers on the Internet, Holdford said.

"It teaches them to never give out personal information and to always tell if they're approached online," she said.

Using a laptop computer, children explored the NetSmart workshop information center that included Halloween safety tips and information for parents. Several read the Online Safety Rules and then took a pledge to practice safety when online.

"The site is sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children," Holdford said, noting that information also is available in Spanish.

The Crime Prevention Unit table was geared toward informing the community about safety, particularly in schools. It contained information on outreach school programs on drugs and bullying.

DES police officer Nicole Hall distributed punching bags and key rings to visitors.

"It's interesting to see the positive response from the community," Hall said. "We're here to tell them 'we are here for you and we want you to let us know what you need.'"

DES police officer Chris Damko hosted the K9 Training Display where visitors viewed an Alco Sensor detection kit - a handheld breath alcohol tester that determines a subject's blood alcohol level; a drug testing kit used for field testing for the presence of illegal substances such as Cocaine or Ecstasy; and bite suit components that dog handlers use in training their K9s.

The Special Reaction Team display, hosted by DES police officer Jeremy Rondone, presented an assortment of tactical equipment used in search and entry and the Fish and Wildlife Division, led by officers Larry Merrill and Brandon Witt, distributed fact sheets on environmental issues such as Lyme disease and tips on avoiding deer collisions.

Merrill said the installation's new hunting and trapping regulation comes out Sept. 1.

Alcohol and drug abuse technicians Vivian Johnson and Lamont Coger ran the ASAP display, which included a drug awareness candy display by the Maryland Poison Control Center.

Children also played bean bag and rope toss games wearing drunken goggles that simulate intoxication.

At the ACS table, Diana Hayes and Arcelio Alleyne distributed information about child abuse, domestic violence, anger management and other related subjects and Picerne Military Housing's Amy Shepherd and other staff members answered residents' questions about accident prevention.

One newcomer to the event was the APG Garrison's Emergency Management Center led by Pedro Rodriguez. The display was in line with the Ready Army campaign which seeks to inform the Army community of all hazards and to provide targeted preparedness information to Soldiers, their Families, civilians and contractors worldwide, Rodriguez said. The display included emergency radios, waterproof pouches and an On the Job Emergency Relief System kit that included basic life support injury packs as well color coded guide books.

"This is the future of First Aid," Rodriguez said.

"We want people to know that we are pushing the Ready Army campaign which coincides with the role of emergency management," Rodriguez said.

Several Families remarked that they and their children had a good time.

"This is our first time coming here and it's nice to see the children learning new things," said Kandy Hall, a DES administrative specialist who brought her children Kirston, 14 and Dean, 11.

Family Child Care provider Shantel Mercado brought her son, Christian, 3, and daughter, Jhazmyn, 2, to their first National Night Out.

"A friend told me about it," she said as they looked at a fire engine on display. "He can't wait to grow up," she said," because he wants to be a fireman."

Page last updated Thu August 12th, 2010 at 15:30