FORT GORDON, Ga. -- (Aug. 2, 2011) Fort Gordon joined communities around the country Aug. 2 to celebrate the 28th Annual National Night Out. The theme for this year’s celebration was: “All Hands on Deck " Let’s Put Crime in Check.”

The Fort Gordon Law Enforcement Night Out, which was held at the Balfour Beatty Community Building on 3rd Avenue, promoted an evening of unique crime and drug prevention awareness and free entertainment for Families.

The second annual National Night Out held on Fort Gordon kicked off with the signing of the “National Night Out Proclamation”. Narrator, Sgt. Brooke Guidebeck, a member of the 35th Military Police Detachment, related how National Night Out Against Crime began. “Matt A. Peskin started the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit, crime prevention organization which worked to promote neighborhood safety and stop crime,” said Guidebeck. “National Night Out, ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime,’ was introduced by the Association in 1984. The program was the brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt Peskin.”

The first National Night Out was introduced early in 1984 " with the event culminating on the first Tuesday in August. That first year, 400 communities in 23 states participated in National Night Out. Nationwide, 2.5 million Americans took part in 1984. In subsequent years, participation has grown. The 27th Annual National Night Out last August involved 37 million people in 15,110 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide, according to www.wkrg.com. While the traditional ‘lights on’ and front porch vigils remain a part of National Night Out, activities have expanded over the years to include: block parties, parades, cookouts, visits by police officers, festivals, neighborhood flashlight walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies and meetings.

“Peskin considered the event as a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnership, strengthen neighborhood spirit, heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, and generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts,” said Guidebeck.

After the proclamation was read, Lt. Col. Jerry E. Chandler Jr., director of the Fort Gordon Emergency Services and provost marshal, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mulcahy, the 35th MP Det. provost sergeant major, signed the proclamation and handed it to Kelly Barchanowicz, the Balfour Beatty Communities Management Office Lifework coordinator. The proclamation will hang in the Balfour Beatty Communities Center.

The rest of the evening was full of free Family fun activities. There was a bouncy slide and bouncy castle for the youngsters. Members of the Army Community Service and Family Advocacy gave away water bottles to help keep everyone hydrated.

Balfour Beatty Communities provided the food; Sgt. 1st Class Keith Walker, the detachment sergeant for the 35thMP Det., was the official grill master. He was assisted by Pvt. Adam Westerheid also of the 35th MP Det.

Staff Sgt. Richard Jones and Sgt. Joe Toles of the 35th MP Det. took turns sitting in the dunking booth. Bike Patrol officers, Spc. Matthew Wells and Sgt. Bradford Peacock, assigned to the 35th MP Det, rode their bikes to the event and stopped to answer children’s questions regarding bicycle safety.

Members of the Fort Gordon Fire Department brought out Engine 10 for youngsters to tour and sit in the driver’s front seat. Kids practiced low crawling in simulated smoke inside the mobile Fort Gordon Fire Department Simulation Smoke House. Firefighters passed out red, plastic fire helmets to the children and “Cook with care” kits for dads who grill out at home and moms who usually prepare the Family’s meals.

Crime dog, McGruff, known for his favorite slogan: “taking a bite out of crime”, made an appearance as did the local Chick-Fil-A mascot. Chick-Fil-A representative Michelle Conway spun the Chick-Fil-A wheel and gave out prizes.

Military Police Investigator Megan Sutherlin, offered parents an opportunity for their children to be fingerprinted. The youngest child she fingerprinted was Joshua Kaneck. The 3-month-old infant was held by his father Fred Kaneck while Lisa Kaneck assisted their other son Brian. Statistics demonstrates how important it is to have a copy of your children’s fingerprints on file at home. More than 800,000 children go missing in America each year. That’s one child every 40 seconds. The National Child Identification Program is the largest child identification effort ever conducted, helping protect more than 10 million children in the past four years.

The night’s event concluded with a performance from the Military K-9 police team. Military working dogs Piero under the direction of his handler Spc. Kyle Kloeckl; Nero under the supervision of Sgt. Michael Mumby; Pindo under the instructions of Sgt. Chantel Razack; and Rokko under the guidance of Sgt. Nelson Molina, demonstrated their skills as trained crime fighting, drug and explosive detecting canines before an attentive audience which include Col. Robert Barker, the garrison commander, and John Curry, the deputy garrison commander.

Page last updated Mon August 15th, 2011 at 09:17