Charlestown cel­e­brates National Night Out

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Res­i­dents, lo­cal law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and first re­spon­ders came to­gether on Tues­day night to par­tic­i­pate in the town’s first of­fi­cial National Night Out in sev­eral years.

The na­tion­wide event is held an­nu­ally on the first Tues­day in Au­gust and pro­motes po­lice and com­mu­nity re­la­tion­ships. Other towns in the county, in­clud­ing Elk­ton, North East, Per­ryville and Ris­ing Sun, also held National Night Out events of their own.

While Charlestown has held a sim­i­lar event called Open House, it has not had an of­fi­cial National Night Out event for sev­eral years and Re­nee Ca­pano, town com­mis­sioner pres­i­dent, said she’s happy the event was brought back this year.

“It gets the com­mu­nity out,” she said. “Ba­si­cally, we just want to pro­mote unity and be­come aware (that) the sher­iff’s of­fice and fire com­pany are here.”

The pre­vi­ously-held Open House event, which had a sim­i­lar premise, was hosted by the fire depart­ment but gen­er­ally did not oc­cur at the same time as National Night Out be­cause of fire­fighter avail­abil­ity, said Thomas Bick­ing, as­sis­tant chief with

CHARLESTOWN

Alex Strong, 20, Crys­tal Strong, Holden Strong, 17, Kai Strong, 3 and Brooke Strong, 8, stand in front of one of Charlestown’s Fire Com­pany’s am­bu­lances Tues­day night.

the Charlestown Fire Com­pany, Sta­tion 5.

But Bick­ing said the fire depart­ment is all about pub­lic re­la­tion­ships and this event is an­other out­let to build on those re­la­tion­ships.

“It’s great,” he said. “We love that, we en­cour­age it.”

A firetruck demon­stra­tion sched­uled to show peo­ple how far the lad­der on top of the truck can ex­tend was can­celed due to tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, Bick­ing said. The plan was to raise the lad­der up and ex­tend to the right so it would touch down on Black Av­enue, Bick­ing added.

Sher­iff Scott Adams said the event al­lows peo­ple to meet law en­force­ment and

in­ter­act with each other. He said the event al­lows peo­ple to put their guards down and feel more com­fort­able talk­ing to law en­force­ment.

“We feel a lot of love and sup­port,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Vice Pres­i­dent Mary Carol Du­range said she tried to have a National Night Out event last year, but was un­able to do so. How­ever, this year, she and Ca­pano started the plan­ning process early and were able to make it hap­pen.

Dur­ing the event, a K9 demon­stra­tion was held by the sher­iff’s of­fice. Cpl. Michael Kalin­sky talked about the K9 unit and then Ares, a Ger­man Shep­herd K9 officer,

demon­strated how he de­tects drugs in a ve­hi­cle and helps his part­ner, Dfc. Joseph Cunningham, when a per­pe­tra­tor is try­ing to flee.

Cpl. Jonathon Pris­tash, also with the K9 unit, played the role of the per­pe­tra­tor dur­ing the demon­stra­tion. The demon­stra­tion didn’t just show­case Ares show­ing off his tac­ti­cal moves, but also in­cluded Roscoe, a Labrador re­triever K9 officer, hav­ing a meet and greet with the au­di­ence.

Olivia Pat­ter­son, 7, saw her first K9 demon­stra­tion on Tues­day. “It’s re­ally good,” she said. Pat­ter­son said she thought it was “cool” when Ares pulled Pris­tash out of the truck dur­ing the show. Al­though, her fa­vorite part was pet­ting Roscoe be­cause that was the sec­ond dog she’s ever pet­ted.

Olivia’s mother, Emily Pat­ter­son, said her hus­band is a mem­ber of the town’s fire com­pany.

“I think it’s good to get out and see what’s go­ing on in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Thomas Bick­ings’ wife, Karen, said she al­ways comes out and sup­ports the fire com­pany’s events.She said she en­joyed the demon­stra­tion and learned a few facts about the dogs.

“I learned about the dogs and that char­i­ties are work­ing to get the dogs vests,” she said.

Like the com­mu­nity mem­bers, the first re­spon­ders also felt the event was a good way to build and strengthen re­la­tion­ships with the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.

Vol­un­teer fire­fighter Craig Cyler said the event gave the com­mu­nity an op­por­tu­nity to see what the fire­fight­ers do and how they in­ter­act with law en­force­ment.

Du­range, the com­mis­sioner vice pres­i­dent, is al­ready thinking about ad­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren for next year’s event. She hopes to add fin­ger­print scan­ning and a chance for chil­dren to prac­tice what to do if they make a 911 call.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BRI­ANNA SHEA

Olivia Pat­ter­son, 7, pets Ce­cil County Sher­iff Of­fice’s K9 Roscoe, who is han­dled by Dfc. Michael Thomas, af­ter the K9 demon­stra­tion held dur­ing National Night Out on Tues­day night.

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