SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- More than 500 keiki and their families teamed up with police, firefighters and Scruff McGruff the Crime Dog to build a better community during National Night Out in the Kalakaua community, here, Aug. 7.

National Night Out, hosted throughout the U.S. on the first Tuesday in August, focuses on displays, demonstrations and face-to-face interaction to show keiki that police, firefighters and paramedics in their neighborhoods are on their side.

"(National Night Out) is about everything and anything that has to do about safety," said Sheryl Ferido, event coordinator and marketing manager, Island Palm Communities. "The event is about the kids getting familiar with firemen, MPs and working dogs, so they can become familiar with them outside of an emergency situation."

National Night Out is a necessary event, said Patrick Rodrigues, community relations officer, Directorate of Emergency Services, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

"One of the major misconceptions about military police is that they don't care, that they aren't concerned with the community's well-being," Rodrigues said. "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," said Pukaua Manners, community relations officer, DES.

During the event, keiki high-fived with Scruff McGruff, sat in the driver's seat of a patrol car and worked their way toward becoming "Junior Chief" safety experts.

A Junior Chief has a responsibility to teach friends and family on how to make a better community, Ferido said.

"Being safe is a community effort," Ferido added. "Know your surroundings and know where you can get help."

Crime fighting resources

USAG-HI, along with DA, offers a variety of ways to report and to fight crime. The following list of contacts are designed to empower you and your family:

Report suspicious activity
•On post
Fort Shafter Police Station at 808-438-7114; and Schofield Barracks Police Station at 808-655-7114.
•Off post
Call 911.

Get involved
•Neighborhood Watch
For Schofield Barracks, contact 808-655-0794, or For Fort Shafter, contact 808-438-7114, or
•IPC Resident Advisory Panel
Call your community manager for details and volunteer opportunities.
•Questions and rumor control
Contact USAG-HI's DES at 808-656-6750.