Responders, community connect at Alabaster Night Out
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Haydon Martin and his brother Baydon were beaming with excitement after exiting the Hoover Police Department’s mobile command post trailer at the Alabaster National Night Out on Crime on Oct. 3.
“That was my favorite,” Baydon said, pointing to the trailer the HPD uses while working large events in the city.
After going through nearly the entire event, Haydon wasn’t able to pick his favorite.
“Everything, especially the food,” Haydon said when asked his favorite part of the event.
On the other side of the parking lot, twins Blake and Dawson Baldwin were awestruck after getting a close-up view of an Alabaster Fire Department engine.
“Going in all the vehicles, especially the fire truck,” Dawson, who joined his brother in wearing a plastic firefighter helmet, said with a smile.
Local kids and families got a chance to connect with local law enforcement and firefighters during the Alabaster Night Out, which was held in the parking lot of the Target store in the South Promenade shopping center.
In addition to the APD, AFD and HPD, several local organizations also set up tables in the store’s parking lot, as Target donated food for all in attendance.
The event continued a tradition begun several years ago in Alabaster, and is one of several similar events in the Birmingham metropolitan area between August and October.
Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said the event helps community members to familiarize themselves with the city’s first responders outside of an emergency situation.
“It’s a nice event for the community, and we enjoy seeing all the families and kids come out,” Rigney said. “It gives us a chance to interact with them, and they get to see our equipment and learn more about our jobs. It’s an all-around fun event.”
The Hoover Police Department’s Porsche 911 cruiser – Seized several years ago in a drug case – was a popular topic of conversation at the HPD area of the event.
“It’s a lot of fun to drive, but it’s hard to get in and out of,” HPD officer Steven Easterling said with a laugh.
For Easterling, the event served as a way to connect with the community in a low-stress environment.
“Police sometimes get a bad name out there,” Easterling said. “We just want to show everyone that we’re normal people with a tough job.”
Photos available at www.shelbycountyphotos.com.