National Night Out makes a splash in Waynesboro

August 02, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Kamren Rinker, 4, of Waynesboro, Pa., jumps into the arms of her mother, Wendy Rinker, Tuesday during the 28th annual National Night Out at Northside Pool in Waynesboro, Pa.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — For its second year of National Night Out, the Waynesboro Police Department made a big splash with the community Tuesday by hosting a pool party at Northside Pool.

The police department participated in the 28th annual National Night Out Tuesday night. Other Tri-State communities, including Chambersburg and Greencastle, Pa., Smithsburg and Hagerstown also held events.

Kim Green, police department secretary and event coordinator, hoped 300 people would show up for the event. The event was held at Memorial Park last year, with 200 people attending.

“I think we’re going to exceed last year’s numbers,” Green said. “We just wanted to change it up for the community. But also I thought ‘what do kids like to do?’ (Go to) the pool. So I thought it would be a great idea.”

National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Its purpose is to raise awareness of crime and drug prevention through education and neighborhood pride.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” Green said. “We find that most of our crimes involve drugs and alcohol in some fashion, whether they’re under the influence committing the crime or they’re stealing to purchase their drugs.

“We just want them to see there is an alternative. This also allows them to interact with law enforcement in a positive way. The police officers aren’t the bad guys.”

K. Marilyn Smith, director of Communities That Care, helped fingerprint and photograph children.

“Parents should have a record of their kids that they can keep in their wallet or in a safe place at home,” Smith said.

A $3,500 donated, computerized system prepared a photo, physical information and fingerprints at the top of the printout.

Smith said that at the bottom of the printout, there are two smaller versions with photos and information that parents can keep in their wallets.

“It makes it nice for the parents to have this information,” Smith said.

It was the first time Sophia Bortzfield, 4, of Waynesboro, Pa., had been photographed and fingerprinted.

Lauri Ryder, drug and alcohol prevention specialist and part of the community coalition that supports Communities That Care, tried to calm Sophia as she took her photo.

“Look here, and give me the prettiest smile you have. That’s beautiful,” Ryder said.

Sophia’s mother, Tasha Bortzfield, came to National Night Out for the fingerprinting.

“I want her to be safe,” Tasha Bortzfield said. “I think it’s a very good idea, a good way to keep track of them if anything happens.”

In addition to the fingerprinting, there was information on drug abuse. The Waynesboro Ambulance Squad also conducted child safety seat inspections.

“I think this is an important event,” said Tina Bittner of Waynesboro, who brought her 10-year-old son, Jett.

She thought the pool party was a great way to combine fun and learning.

“It gets the kids out in the community, and they get all kinds of information about drugs and alcohol and how to be drug-free,” Bittner said. “That’s information they need for the rest of their lives.”

Beth Vassallo of Waynesboro and her daughter Laurel Mann, 6, took a break from swimming so Laurel could enjoy some ice cream.

“It’s a fun, family thing to do, and I think it’s really good for her to know about safety,” Vassallo said. “It’s also good for her to get exposed to police and firemen. In case she ever needs help, she would know who to go to.”

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