FORT GORDON, Ga. (Aug. 14, 2015) -- Fort Gordon hosted its 32nd anniversary of National Night Out Aug. 4 at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Youth Pavilion playground. The post joined neighborhoods to promote awareness and fellowship with law enforcement against crime.

About 300 military families and installation members came out to enjoy the festivities and learn how to keep Fort Gordon safe from crime.

Garrison Commander Col. Samuel G. Anderson welcomed everyone to the city of Fort Gordon and National Night Out.

"National Night Out is really an event to make our installation safer and drawing our Fort Gordon community closer together," Anderson said. "It is annual community building campaign that promotes police community partnerships and neighborhood comradery to make our neighborhood safe and a better place to live and there are a lot of people who work really close to do that."

Anderson pointed out the community is working to build relationships with Balfour Beatty Communities, the mayors of the on-post housing areas, and a variety of non-profits who help support the installation.

"There are a lot of other entities within the Fort Gordon garrison, which come together to make this a community," Anderson explained. "National Night Out helps focus on the partnership with the Directorate of Emergency Services and see that there are more than the person checking your ID at the gate or the person pulling you over for talking on your cellphone."

" I have personally witnessed this directorate work extremely hard on the personal outreach and the community aspect of their business," Anderson said. "They also work hard on the law enforcement and the protective perspective."

"They really answer the call on a day-to-day basis," he explained. "They work an enormous amount of overtime hours to make this happen. We could not do without you, and we could not execute our mission on this installation without our Directorate of Emergency Services."

The garrison commander pointed out how safe the post is before the Fort Gordon National Night Out proclamation was read, which was signed by Lt. Col. Mark D. Finley, director of the Directorate of Emergency Services and Provost Marshal, and Anderson.

"I can say without question that Fort Gordon is the safest, and most crime free city in this region within a 70-mile radius," Anderson said with pride. "That's largely due to the efforts of our military police and the DES team."

"We can all do better and to do that we need your help and that's why we are here," Anderson added. "National Night Out enhances our relationship between our community and our law enforcement and builds a sense of community pride. So, let's all commit to extending that warm relationship into the future that together we can make the city of Fort Gordon an ever better place to live."

After the proclamation was read many participants visited the numerous information booths set up by organizations and agencies on - and off-post and enjoyed a dinner of grilled hot dogs, chips and refreshments furnished by Balfour Beatty Communities.

McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Prevention Dog spent time with the children.

A few young participants accurately chucked the ball at the dunking booth sending Javier Archbold in the cool water quite a few times.

The DES displayed a wide variety of vehicles used every day to keep the post safe. Some of these included: an allterrain vehicle, Engine 10 and Brush one truck used by the Fort Gordon Fire Department, a marked and an unmarked police sedan, and the Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Incident Command post vehicle.

Bicycle Patrolmen James King and Ronald Wilson came out to answer questions from children about bicycle safety on post and Lakeview Housing Mayor Melissa Ebbing encouraged everyone to attend the 13th annual Community Expo scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Gordon Catering and Conference Center.

"This is a great opportunity to learn about the many activities and military friendly businesses and organizations in the Central Savannah River Area," Ebbing said.

Safe Kids of Greater Augusta came out to help new parents learn about child safety car and booster seats. The Fort Gordon Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program, BBC, and the K-9 military working dogs made an appearance.

Heather Walker and her daughter Audrey picked up a child identification kit from the military police, and spoke with Krystle McCann, a social worker for the Army Community Service New Parent Support Program, before stopping at the installation game warden booth. There Game Warden Scott Hockenberry gave community members an opportunity to hold a corn snake and learn more about the various wildlife on post.

"I finally can tell the difference, based on appearance, of a venomous and a nonvenomous snake after talking with the game warden," Walker said. "I also discovered what poisonous plants are in area at this event."