National Night Out gives personal look at law enforcement

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Alabaster’s National Night Out celebration helped many area law enforcement agencies get a more personal look at their communities while working to recruit crime-solvers.

Dozens of Shelby County residents gathered in the Alabaster Target parking lot Aug. 3 as police officers from Alabaster, Helena, Calera, Pelham and several other cities mingled with those they seek to protect every day.

The event also featured Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, representatives from the U.S. Marshals Department and many other area agencies.

“Things like this give people a greater awareness of what’s going on in their communities,” said Alabaster Police Sgt. Coleman White. “Anytime you get a chance to get out into the community and talk with people face-to-face, it’s a good thing.

“At events like this, people aren’t afraid to come up and talk to you,” White added. “That makes it more likely that they will talk to us in the future and give us a key piece of information when we need it.”

Target sponsored Alabaster’s National Night Out alongside thousands of similar crime-prevention events across the country Aug. 3.

“We’ve got all the different levels of law enforcement out here, and it gives people the opportunity to come up to us and ask us questions,” said Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Drug Task Force Commander Chris George. “We want to be more approachable, and this helps us do that.

“Maybe someone we talk to today will be the one to call us and give us a tip or help us solve a case,” George added.

Alabaster resident Che McNichols, who attended the event with his 2-year-old daughters Madison and Morgan, said he enjoyed learning more about the community’s law enforcement personnel.

“I think this is good for community awareness,” McNichols said. “It brings the community out to see some of the different agencies we have around here.”

Agent Greg Gauger with the FBI office in Birmingham said he was enjoying his first Alabaster National Night Out event.

“This is the first time I’ve been to this one,” Gauger said. “It’s good because it allows any passerby to see all of the different agencies together in one place.

“It’s nice to get out in any location and meet people and kind of enlighten them to many of the things we do,” Gauger added.