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Smithsburg to take part in National Night Out

July 06, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Smithsburg Police Chief George Knight shows a protective ballistic shield. The shield and other protective items will be displayed at Smithsburg's observation of National Night Out on Aug. 3 at Veterans Park.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

SMITHSBURG -- National Night Out is a nationwide crime-prevention effort that involved more than 15,000 communities last year, including some in Canada and military bases worldwide, according to the website http://www.nationalnightout.org.

The event is designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police and community partnerships, and help people learn how to prevent crime, according to the website.

Now Smithsburg has decided to get in on the action with an event scheduled for Aug. 3 at Veterans Park that will include a gang-awareness talk by a Washington County gang task-force investigator, a meal, and a family movie complete with popcorn.

Smithsburg Police Chief George Knight said he wanted to celebrate National Night Out so town residents could get to know the town's police officers.

"What better way (is there) for the community to see what police departments, fire departments and emergency medical services are all about?" Knight said.

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Hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks and cake will be provided during the event from 5 to 10 p.m., and Knight said he is preparing for 200 to 300 people to attend.

Knight said there is no gang activity in Smithsburg, but there is in other parts of the county.

The planned talks about gang activity are designed to help parents protect their children from gang influence, Knight said.

Police will show how they use tasers and one might be used on a police officer as part of the demonstration, Knight said. A taser, which emits an electric charge, is used by police to control suspects.

Also part of the event will be a Smithsburg Police Department equipment display, blood pressure screening, a Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Department display, a Washington County Special Response Team display and a K-9 demonstration. The police dog demonstration will show how officers use K-9 units to apprehend suspects and detect narcotics, Knight said.

National Night Out will end with a movie that organizers plan to project on a large screen at the park. People are encouraged to bring a blanket or chairs, Knight said.

The town and the police department are helping fund the program, as is the Smithsburg Lions Club, Knight said. The retail company Target is also sponsoring the event, he said.

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