As the sun set below the horizon, Santa Clarita’s law enforcement officials gathered with the community in Central Park for the 35th annual National Night Out.
Alongside kiosks and tents belonging to local businesses and media, the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol stationed in Newhall gave away brochures, stickers and advice to residents passing by before Concerts in the Park.
“National Night Out is a time to get with the community to take back the streets,” said deputy Joshua Stamsek. “It’s a partnership with the community, to get to know one another and celebrate our common goals for the community.”
While the event will take place nationwide on Tuesday, as it has every previous year on the first Tuesday of August, this event was adjusted to happen on Saturday with the city of Santa Clarita, Stamsek said.
“It’s a greater turnout and that’s where we need to be, is with the people,” he added.
Around a dozen representatives from deputies to volunteers to reservists coordinated the two tables, offering people the chance to volunteer, sign up or simply be aware of how sheriff’s deputies work to keep them safe.
One of the techniques intended for residents to keep up with information from their local law enforcement is through the use of Nixle.
“Almost think of it like Twitter, but only for information from us,” Stamsek said. “So if you receive a Nixle alert, it could be a road closure, it could be an incident that’s ongoing and in an area you shouldn’t arrive in or it could be an incident that actually happened in your neighborhood or in your area.”
One flier included details on the Sheriff’s Department deputy explorer program. Geared toward young people between the ages of 14 and 20, it is designed for those interested in learning more about law enforcement and to provide a hands-on experience. Jeffrey Escobar and Andrew Campos were among the explorers participating in handing out information to concert goers and young people looking at the two tables.
Along with fliers for adults and rulers for children, a ham radio was also on display.
“If things were to go apocalyptic and our radios don’t work, we still need a form of communication,” Stamsek said. “So we actually have ham operators that work with us and they meet every Monday and they communicate throughout L.A. County. So it’s just one of the other necessary things that we do. In case of a natural disaster and everything goes into a handbasket, we’re still able to perform and do our duties for the safety of the public.”
While walking by the tables, park goers had the chance to meet with McGruff the crime dog, who himself met some fellow canines owned by park goers along the way.
After National Night Out came to a close, park guests had their chairs and tents set up for Concerts at the Park, which this week featured the tribute band Matchbox Twenty Too.