By Emily Crowe
CNJ STAFF WRITER
Steve West and his 9-year-old daughter walked around Greene Acres Park drinking chocolate milk Tuesday evening as firefighters, police officers and Cannon Air Force Base Security Forces airmen helped the city celebrated its fifth annual National Night Out.
Officials from the Clovis Police Department, New Mexico State Police, Curry County Sheriff’s Office, Motor Transportation, Livestock Board and Cannon were on hand to pass out child identification kits, informational handouts and coloring books.
“The thing we like is the backpack identification cards,” West said. “It’s kind of nice, especially at the beginning of the year when the kids don’t know which backpack is theirs.”
Now in its 30th year, National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local crime efforts and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
The event is sponsored locally by CPD, and nearly 15,000 communities from all 50 states participated in similar events.
“We really like to build a partnership with the city’s citizens,” said CPD Community Relations Officer Daron Roach. “We can’t do it by ourselves. It takes the help of citizens to eliminate any of the crime.”
Roach estimated the event would draw between 2,000 and 2,500 local residents.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said National Night Out is a great opportunity for law enforcement and first responders to partner with the community.
“The community can get an opportunity to know a little bit more about what these men and women do on a daily basis,” he said.
For the third year, the Curry County Wellness Council held its annual Back To School Health Fair during the event. Vendors included the Local Emergency Planning Committee, Curry County Crimestoppers and the New Mexico Department of Health.
DOH officials gave free immunizations to children heading back to school while the Clovis Evening Lions Club held a haystack steer roping contest for a chance to win a bicycle.
“Doing something like this, we let people come out and see that law enforcement is out here for something else than just to pull you over,” Roach said.