FORT STEWART, GA -- Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield joined Hinesville and Liberty County in community partnership to help prevent crime and increase awareness at the 25th annual National Night Out held at Bradwell Park, Aug. 2.

The Family-oriented event featured a street dance, children's story time, child-safety fingerprinting, and booths providing safety and back-to-school supplies.

Stewart-Hunter provided the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation stage; military police traffic tower static display; a Driving Under the Influence simulator; and information booths on motorcycle safety, wildlife conservation, and Drug Awareness Resistance and Education.

Sgt. Randall Thompson and Sgt. Arthur Barron spoke to parents and children about avoiding drugs and bad influences like gangs, and handed out school supplies. Barron said parents can help thier children by visiting their respective schools - particularly in the upcoming open houses.
Sgt. Mellisa Devore, 139th Military Police, visited the NNO with her husband Shawn, and children Tyler, 11; Evan, 3; and 11-month-old Ashton.

"It was a bit of a culture shock, returning from Germany," Devore said about national crime trends. She noted the NNO was helpful in that it provided information and school supplies, including bicycle locks from the DARE display.

"Parents should meet with school administrators," Barron said. "It would help them learn what expectations there are." Barron said.

Directorate of Emergency Services representative Steve Podmore attended the event and commented on the partnership between Stewart-Hunter and Hinesville.

"The installation enjoys a close relationship with Hinesville/Liberty County," Podmore said. "The bond strengthens community relations while deterring bad influences."

Another booth, which focused on increasing cooperation was the Hinesville Police Citizen's Academy, which was operated by the academy's first graduates, Maria Fragosa, John Clark and Mark Moses-Hunt.

Hinesville Police Officer Joseph Madison, proponent for the academy, encouraged community members, both military and civilian to take a look at the opportunities provided by the Citizen's Academy.

The academy, open to all Hinesville residents 18 and older with no criminal record, teaches police department structure and administrative operations, criminal law and investigation, traffic law and investigation as well as community policing practices. Madison said academy students were able to sign up to ride along with police officers.

The purpose was to acquaint residents with the organization and mission of police, and promote good will, mutual understanding and encourage community support. Madison said people wishing to learn more about the Citizen's Academy could call 368-8211.

Community involvement was a central theme throughout the National Night Out, and event organizer, Hinesville Crime Prevention Officer John Williams said it was nice to see the community get together to take a bite out of crime.

Hinesville Police Captain Johnetta Reid agreed with Williams and shared her thoughts on the event.

"It is important to give neighbors and friends a chance to get together and provide opportunities to join together and work as a community on important issues such as crime prevention," Reid said.

Reid thanked attendees, and community partners like the local businesses who gave back to the community, and were vital members to the entire team.