By Sgt. Marcus Fichtl, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandAugust 13, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- More than 500 kids and their families teamed up with policemen, firemen and Scruff McGruff the crime dog to build a better community during National Night Out at Kauakau Community here, Aug. 7.
National Night Out, hosted across the United States on the first Tuesday every August and focused on displays, demonstrations and old fashioned face to face interaction shows kids the police, firefighters and paramedics in their neighborhoods are on their side. The event also included information on drug centers, army community services program, and information about pet ownership.
"It's about everything and anything that has to do about safety," said Sheryl Ferido, event coordinator and marketing manager for Island Palm Communities. "It's about the kids getting familiar with the fireman, the MP, the working dog. To see them and get familiar with them outside of an emergency situation."
A truly necessary event said Patrick Rodrigues, community relations officer, directorate of emergency services because unfortunately many times familiarity between the community and its military police isn't there.
Stuck behind guard shacks and hidden behind the steering wheel of their patrol cars MPs have a unique and unfortunate perception of presence and detachment, which leads some to believe the MPs are an uncaring force.
A notion Rodrigues says simply isn't true.
One of the major misconceptions that the military police that they don't care, that they aren't concerned with their well being, "Rodrigues. "When we go out and respond to calls there's an urgency we feel to make sure the community stays safe."
"We're an extension of their family, we're like their mother or father, we're here to protect," added Pukaua Manners, community relations officer, directorate of emergency services.
A feeling felt by all the kids at National Night Out as the kids high fived with Scruff McGruff, sat in the driver's seat of a patrol car and worked their way to become "Junior Chiefs"--safety experts, who've learned everything National Night Out has to offer.
But according to Ferido, a Junior Chief has one final responsibility -- to teach their friends and family on how to make a better community.
"Being Safe is a community effort," said Ferido "Know your surroundings, know where you can get help."
And as the hundreds of kids during National Night Out here can say, being safe isn't hard when they can ask their new friends the Military Policeman, Firefighter and the paramedic on Schofield Barracks for help.