Millions of people across the country got together with their neighbors, including their local law enforcement officials Tuesday night. The idea is to get law enforcement and the communities they serve together to make the places they live a little safer. South County had its own event in Shady Side.
National Night Out, America’s Night Out Against Crime is an event involving over 15,000 communities throughout the country. It was first organized in 1983 by the National Association of Town Watch. This is the 19th year Shady Side has participated.
Hundreds of people showed up to meet Southern district police officers, local fire fighters and emergency medical technicians at the Lula G. Scott Community Center on Shady Side Road. There was also live music provided by the Shady Side Sour Notes.
Event organizer and ‘unofficial mayor’ of Shady Side, Mohan Grover served as master of ceremonies for the event. He introduced several high ranking members of the Anne Arundel County police force to kick off the event.
Sherriff Ron Bateman, Chief of Police James Teare and Captain Joseph Jordan were among those in attendance. District 7 county councilman Jerry Walker also spoke to the crowd thanking them for their attendance. After the speeches concluded, everyone was treated to pizza, hotdogs and other picnic favorites while enjoying the cool summer evening.
Those attending also had a rare chance to get up close and personal with some of the tools used by the southern district police. There were plenty of officers on hand to show off some of their equipment, like the SWAT van or a few of the motorcycle cruisers. A K9 unit from the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s department was getting a lot of attention as well.
The event is designed to strengthen communities and to build relationships between people and law enforcement. Russel White and his seven-year-old son Gabriel live in Shady Side and said this was the first National Night Out event they have attended. White said he and his son were having fun meeting with the officers and checking out some of their equipment. Gabriel seemed to be particularly interested in the motorcycles as he chatted with Cpl. Dalton of Southern district.
“We’re really having a nice time,” said White looking on as his son checks out the engine. “I would love to get on one of those things.”
White also said that he thought this event was a good chance for his son to meet and talk with officers at a young age. “We’ve just been walking around talking with the officers and commending them on the wonderful job they do down here,” he said. “It’s good for him [Gabriel] to talk with the officers and make a connection to them early on.”