National Night Out kindles fellowship

Published 9:34 am Monday, October 10, 2022

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On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the county celebrated National Night Out at Heardmont Park. The annual event is not only a time for festivities and fun, but also an opportunity to put a face to the badge.

It allows children an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the officers, their vehicles and equipment.

At the event, children were allowed to climb inside fire trucks and helicopters and see the various tools that the fire department uses. They were able to see K-9 units and pet service dogs. There were deputies present at the event who made balloon toys for the kids to enjoy.

Often times people do not meet first responders until they actually need them in an emergency situation or other unpleasant circumstances. They might not know the members of their fire department or paramedic services, but when they are in an emergency situation, it may help to calm one’s nerves if the person there to help is familiar.

Lieutenant Christine Shores attended the event and provided her perspective.

“Anytime you’re able to meet the people that are coming to help you, it gives you that sense of comfort if you are in an emergency situation that, ‘Oh, I met that guy,’ or, ‘I know that person,’” she said.

Events like National Night Out also shine light on unsung heroes and the officers that the public may not be as familiar with.

Senior Officer of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Erin Benford attended the event and shared her perspective on things.

“It gives people an idea of what we do, because a lot of people don’t know about probation and parole or the fact that we’re right here. We have an office right here in Shelby County,” she said. “It’s good that they get to come out and put a face with a name.”

Benford works for the bureau in its Calera field office, and yet there are many that are not familiar with her or her fellow officers.

Ultimately, National Night Out is a fun evening for the public, but it is also a public force for good that can help to kindle closer relationships between those who serve and those who are served.