National Night Out unites community

Trevor Rotoli snaps a picture of his children, Levino, 3, Sophia, 6, and Seth, 11, with Sparky at the National Night Out event on Tuesday.

Trevor Rotoli snaps a picture of his children, Levino, 3, Sophia, 6, and Seth, 11, with Sparky at the National Night Out event on Tuesday.

The public got a behind the scenes look at what public safety officials do on a daily basis Tuesday night at Mills Park.

The 13th annual National Night Out went off without a hitch this year, bringing together public safety officials and the community for a night of fun.

National Night Out is an event put on by communities across the country to bring awareness to crime prevention while also creating positive interactions between law enforcement and the public.

“This is a great event because we get to be in touch with the people that we serve and work with,” said Carson City deputy Darin Riggin about the thousands in attendance. “It puts us in a different light and the community gets to see us in a less serious and work environment. We get to be here and be human beings just like everyone else at the event.”

Public safety officials for multiple agencies gathered for the event: DEA agents, Carson City Fire Department, the Nevada Highway Patrol and even CareFlight flew in for the festivities. The event wasn’t just for the community and law enforcement to come together, many local organizations and non-profits, such as CASA Carson City and Red Cross, also set up booths at the event. Kids and adults got goodies, participated in activities and watched demonstrations to have a fun and educational experience about the people serving all factions of the community.

There was fun for all ages, from bounce houses and face painting to K9 interactions and fire truck tours. Many public safety officials were out to answer questions and put visitors through demonstrations.

At the SWAT station, kids got to go through an obstacle course while wearing the gear to compete for the fastest time. One of the popular events was the NHP crash simulator, which had kids buckled into a seat that “crashed” to see the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

“I liked going into the crash thing,” said Kate Lucas. “It hurt my chest after.”

But, as Lisa Lucas, Kate’s mom pointed out to her, it taught her going through a real crash without a seatbelt on would hurt much worse.

Lisa said it’s important for the kids to come to see different things like this and have positive interactions with law enforcement.

“I just wanted them to see (law enforcement) because the perception is that they are scary and I want them to see that they are here to help you,” Lisa said. “I wanted them to see firsthand.”

Carson City didn’t get to celebrate National Night Out last year because of rain, and though ominous clouds threatened, everyone stayed dry.

One setback this year, however, was the absence of Sheriff Ken Furlong. Each year Furlong has attended National Night Out, however this year, he was in New Orleans to accept an award for the D.A.R.E Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. He said he was saddened and apologetic for missing this year’s event.

Many of the other law enforcement officials made jokes about Furlong’s absence at the event.

“He’s on the run from probation so if you see him let us know so we can lock him back up,” joked Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei to the crowd.

Each year, there’s a certain issue the Sheriff’s Office features for the event to bring awareness to the community. This year, the featured organization of the event was Advocates to End Domestic Violence.

“Almost daily we have people going to jail for domestic violence and we need to stop that,” said Undersheriff Steve Albertson.

“We are here to have a good time and stop crime.”


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