Police plan National Night Out

Published 6:03 pm Friday, August 1, 2008

When families attend National Night Out in Calera Tuesday night, it won’t be the normal neighborhood block party.

There will be a moon bounce, food and free giveaways, but there will also be officers on hand to fingerprint kids and help parents gather identification for their children — something Sgt. Angela Velarde hopes the families never need.

“We just feel better knowing children are fingerprinted,” she said.

National Night Out is a nationwide event that is intended to help prevent crime and drug use. The Calera Police Department decided to tweak that goal a little by making their event about finding ways to identify children.

The department will also hand out identification kits, which consist of large cards that will have important information such as fingerprints, parents’ information and medical information. With the identification kits, parents will get small ID cards with important information for their children.

The event will be held at Concord Baptist Church in Calera.

“With Calera as spread out as it is, we needed it to be at a central location, so we wanted to invite everyone to come to us,” Velarde said.

Calera participated in National Night Out five years ago, but hasn’t since. If families enjoy the event, it will become a yearly happening, Velarde said.

“We just figured we’d try to put on a big show and see how the public responds,” she said. “It’s a good way to get the community together and get some much-needed information on the kids for them to keep.”

The event is also intended to bring neighbors together so they can keep a smarter eye out, Velarde said.

“The police officer can’t be everywhere. We need neighbors to be eyes and ears,” she said. “Just keep an eye on your neighbor. Don’t be a nosy neighbor, just know who should be there and if someone’s strange, call us.”

If people can’t make the event, fingerprinting is available at the Calera Police Department. Call 668-1862 for more information.

Velarde said if enough people are interested, the department will set up a day to let parents bring children in to get identification kits.