MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marines and Sailors of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point gathered with local law enforcement agencies and community members to heighten crime prevention awareness during National Night Out at Walter B. Jones Park in Havelock, Aug. 1.
National Night Out began in 1984 as a way to strengthen police and community partnerships, provide support for local anticrime efforts and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
“The idea behind the National Night Out is that everyone works together to defeat the crime element,” said Chief David Magnusson, police chief at the Havelock Police Department. “It is a collaborative effort to enhance the quality of life and have a good time doing it.”
Local businesses and law enforcement agencies provided static displays for the event. The Provost Marshals Office of Cherry Point, as well as multiple local emergency service units filled the park with demonstrations and information booths about programs and safety initiatives available for them.
Events like National Night Out are a positive opportunity to come out and meet the local law enforcement and other emergency service entities, said Lt. John Austin, the specialized operations division commander for the Havelock Police Department.
“The event benefits emergency personnel because they get to interact with the community and show them that they are human beings that live, work and play here as well,” said Austin.
National Night Out occurs annually in 16,000 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide and involves more than 37 million people.
“I am proud to have the military support at this event,” said Austin. “The air station has been wonderful in helping us out with everything and providing connections to support this event. We could not do it without the support of the Marines.”
Cherry Point’s PMO works closely with the Havelock Police Department during emergencies and training exercises, also giving support during the event.
“It is a gathering of various police agencies throughout the country to show and demonstrate what our capabilities are,” said 2nd Lt. Eric Hood, the kennel master for PMO here.
PMO gave demonstrations to the local community showing the capabilities of the military working dogs.
“The handlers get to show off their partner, their dog, and have the crowd cheer when the dog bites the pretend suspect,” said Hood. “It is a deterrent because a potentially non-law abiding citizen will see some of what we can do and say, ‘wait a minute, I see how those dogs respond, so I better not do that.”
“National Night Out enforces the trust we have in each other and lets us celebrate a night out against crime,” said Austin.