By Ms. Alexandra Shea (IMCOM)August 9, 2019
Fort Jackson Military Police teamed up with local law enforcement officers to host National Night Out in the post housing areas. During the night, law enforcement officers mingled with post residents for an evening of games, food and fun.
"We are people too," said Spc. Steven Ellis, 17th Military Police Detachment, Traffic Division. "I like seeing the different kids do (the pedal bike)."
Ellis, along with his unit members, ran various stations throughout the night. Ellis hosted the pedal bike course. Those who wished to try their luck were given "drunk goggles" and allowed to try and navigate the course. The goggles helped the rider understand what it would be like to drive impaired. While it may have been funny to watch children and adults alike navigate the course, it teaches an important lesson -- driving under the influence is dangerous.
The annual night was established in August 1984 to help build police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. The goal is to make neighborhoods safer and more caring places to live. On Fort Jackson, military and civilian police hope to build relationships with residents to help create a sense of comfort between police and residents.
"Since we are out here communicating and do these fun things, we hope people will be comfortable with us," Ellis said. "They can come to us with an issue. We are here to help and not just give out tickets."
The event, where community members were invited to come out to enjoy hot dogs, drinks and ice cream, was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Children's events such as bounce castles, rock climbing, pedal bike course, face painting, basketball and more were offered. Families also had a chance to get up close with various military police and first responder vehicles and see demonstrations such as military working dogs.
"The kids are having fun," said Rowen Bark, military spouse and post resident. "We started at 5:30 p.m. and they still don't want to go home. Some people are scared when they see MPs but each of them have been approachable." The Bark Family had been at the event a few hours already.
The event is celebrated on the second Tuesday in August annually. For one Fort Jackson Military Policeman planning the evening has been his focus since April.
"I haven't done this alone. I have had a lot of help to be able to make this happen," said Staff Sgt. Shawn Taylor, Provost Marshall Office Operations Sergeant. "It was busy and took quite a bit of my time but the Fort Jackson community helped."
Hundreds of Family members attended the event and participated in the various stations with law enforcement officers making the annual event on Fort Jackson a mission success.
"This was the first time I've heard of (this program), but it's a good idea," Bark said.