ArticleID: 166
Date: 8/6/2002
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

"NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is a yearly observance to send a message to criminals that our neighborhoods are organized and fighting back!" the flier states. "I just wish it wasn`t held at the same time as the County Fair", Jackson City Police Officer Dave Renteria said, "but it`s a national event."

The purpose of NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is to heighten the awareness of crime and drugs in our individual neighborhoods. The idea is to send a message to resident criminals that "we know what you`re doing and we won`t tolerate it!" In addition, the program promotes home owners to turn on their porch lights during this evening.

The evening began a little after six in Bucky Harris Park where members of The Jackson Police Department set up tables and equipment. Officially set to kick off at 7:00pm, many attendees, as well as curious onlookers, began to approach the stage. People began to roll in as Jackson`s Finest began filling balloons with helium. At first there were the questions such as, "What`s all this about?" From then the "official" starting time didn`t matter, the event was on!

Compared to last year`s numbers, this year`s event was considered a success by all who attended. Over twenty children and adults brought their bikes, some for the free bike licenses the Jackson Police Department handed out during the event. Some came for the free "Ident-A-Kid" package used to fingerprint and record vital information about a child (in case of an abduction). Many attended just to show their support.

JPD Officers spoke to both children and adults. And the free registration for bike licenses was a big hit. Then there was the free bike drawing entry form the officers asked every child to fill out. Balloons were handed out. About that time magician The Great Medini began to perform by turning mere sections of sealed latex into colorful animals of all shapes!

During the activities the JPD also handed out free "Police" T-shirts with the statement "Too Bright For Drugs" embossed on the back. Moments later, a Jackson Fire Department Hook and Ladder truck and a Summitt Township Pumper truck showed up for people to inspect. The Jackson Community Ambulance Service was also in force with one of their units in which people could actually "try out" and find out what it must be like to be a victim requiring their services.

Next was the free bike drawing. This reporter had the honor of picking the names of the four winners. It only took a few minutes to register the winners and then it was time for the bike parade.

The bike parade began at Bucky Harris Park with yours truly leading the pack of about eighteen riders. The JPD had a patrol unit in front of, and behind, the riders with flashing lights and sirens blasting. The parade headed up Michigan Ave to Blackstone. From there it went east on Courtland and to Mechanic. Then up Pearl Street and back to Michigan and Bucky Harris Park.

As I eluded to earlier, this is not the most popular of annual events. But this event has been growing in the past few years. And if you can`t make it to one in the future, just remember to leave a porch light lit during the night. That`s the whole idea. Let criminals know you are aware of them and that you are watching!

Copyright 2002, CFC

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