What began as a program in which homeowners were asked to leave their porch lights on and come outside to join their communities has turned into parades, parties, community gatherings, marches, rallies or safety events and demonstrations.
On Aug. 6, Colonial Beach’s National Night Out (NNO), which was to promote crime and safety awareness, had representatives from Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department (CBVFD), Rescue Squad, Virginia State Police, Marine Police, Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department and the local Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 258 which is a co-ed group of scouts.
The CBVFD Ladies Auxiliary sold food to help benefit the fire department. Also, as a fundraiser a “Dunk the Cop” tank was set up in the outdoor parking lot.
First up in the tank was acting Town Police Chief William Seay. Dressed from head to toe, including shoes and socks, Seay took to the tank like a fish to water. As the first few balls missed the mark, Seay taunted the throwers just as an old time carnival barker would have.
That is until the first dunk hit and Seay hit the cold water with a resounding splash.
Young and old alike took turns dunking Chief Seay, Mayor Mike Ham and several of the Venture Crew cadets. When Seay was asked how he felt, his reply was, “Great! It’s for a great cause and I enjoy helping the citizens of our town.”
Local K-9 officer, Brian Davis, and the canine put on a demonstration for the crowd. The dog showed how he is trained to smell narcotics and signal an officer to their location. While the number of people was smaller than anticipated, they were very appreciative of the demonstration.
Following the K-9 demonstration several CBVFD volunteers donned their 30 pounds of gear and showed how extrication tools, must often called the “Jaws of Life,” are used to open up a car up to remove injured passengers. In the time it takes to open a can or two of tuna the young men had one door off the car, and before you could finish making a sandwich with it, the top of the car was peeled back to allow even more access.
With the chance to practice on a car, other fire fighters took the time to also remove the back doors of the vehicle, leaving it a fairly hollow shell for the amazed crowd.
Many of those gathered were given the chance to don “drunk goggles” which simulate the vision changes at various blood alcohol contents and impairment.
One young woman, upon taking the goggles of, stated “I understand now why the levels are so low, I really couldn’t see.”
National Association of Town Watch Executive Director Mass Peskin, who founded National Night Out has said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie. While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods a safer place year round. The night celebrates safety and crime prevention successes and works to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days.”
For more information on National Night Out their URL is www.natw.org/about-nno.