By Rick EmertAugust 16, 2019
By Scott Prater
FORT CARSON, Colo. - The 1942 Seagrave Fire Engine parked outside Soldiers' Memorial Chapel Aug. 6, 2019, hardly resembled its modern counterparts, which were parked nearby and manned by Fort Carson firefighters. The old, bright red, fire truck held just one 16-foot wooden ladder, a single ax and a couple of water outlets. A simple red flasher sat atop its windshield and its open-air driver's compartment had no doors. Otherwise, it sat proudly in pristine condition.
It was just one of the many points of interest for those who attended the annual National Night Out festivities at the chapel.
Attendees saw a lot of firefighters, police and officers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Law Enforcement.
Like many emergency services organizations around the nation, Fort Carson's Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) hosted the event as part of a national effort.
Established in 1984, National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in an effort to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. The National Association of Town Watch explained that National Night Out is designed to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
Fort Carson's effort included first responders, military police working dog detachment and some of the post's emergency personnel and community-assisting agencies like Army Community Service, Army Substance Abuse Prevention, Fort Carson Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program and the anti-terrorism program.
"We wanted to provide a venue for police and the community to come together in an atmosphere that's educational," said Jim Walter, Fort Carson Police Operations Branch chief. "People can come and discuss issues and talk about ways that we can help the public and they can see our different capabilities."
While attendees had the chance to test a seat-belt convincer, they also toured a military police incident command center vehicle and numerous fire department and police department vehicles.
"For an event like Freedom Fest, we (police) work out of that incident command vehicle," Walter said. "It's not something the public is allowed in while we are using it, but this National Night Out event allows us to open it up and let the public see those sorts of tools that would be utilized during our mission."
Fort Carson's DES has hosted National Night Out each summer since 2013 and Walter said the event has typically grown over the years to include more activities and organizations. Event organizers purposely intended for Fort Carson's National Night Out to be child-friendly and fun for Families.
DES personnel provided barbecue cuisine while most participating vendors provided some type of activity to go along with their information. Conservation Law Enforcement had a fishing game for children while Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers offered a view of one of the law enforcement boats.
"The kids had a lot of fun seeing and learning about all the fire trucks and police cars and boats," said Cindy Jackson, Fort Carson Family member. "The military working dog demonstration was both exciting and educational and it showed how the dogs work in tandem with police officers. Our young ones had a great time."