Law enforcement representatives came in all shapes and sizes during the annual National Night Out event Aug. 3 at Fort Drum. Hundreds of community members gathered for free food, music and games at Adirondack Creek Community Center, hosted by Mountain Community Homes. Representatives from Fort Drum Directorate of Emergency Services, Fort Drum Veterinary Clinic, Child and Youth Services, and others were in attendance to talk with attendees and share information about their programs and services. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
National Night Out on post promotes partnership between law enforcement, Fort Drum community
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 4, 2021) – Fort Drum law enforcement and fire officials united with residents Aug. 3 to celebrate the annual National Night Out event – an annual campaign to increase anti-crime awareness and bolster community partnerships.
Dean Harrison, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes project director, welcomed attendees outside Adirondack Creek Community Center and encouraged community members to talk with first responders, meet their fellow neighbors and enjoy an evening of camaraderie.
“National Night Out is a nationwide celebration of our community and a celebration about what makes out community great, what makes our community strong and what makes us safe and secure,” Harrison said. “I want to thank our residents for coming out here. This is all for you, and please enjoy yourselves.”
The event featured music from the 10th Mountain Division Band; free pizza, hot dogs, ice cream and other treats; children’s activities, and various booths promoting crime and drug prevention and community safety.
Throughout the evening, children scrambled inside a police vehicle to test the lights and sirens and climbed into the driver’s seat of the big, red fire truck.
“Just seeing those interactions the kids have with our police and fire personnel is the best part for me,” said Fort Drum Police Chief Todd Julian. “That’s really what this is all about.”
Representatives at the Child and Youth Services booth spoke with family members about upcoming events and informed parents how they can register their kids for sports, fitness and educational programs at the Youth Center.
“We are open to all youths at Fort Drum (grades 6-12), to come in and really just be in these safe, fun environments,” said Chanda Jones, a Child and Youth Services program assistant.
Jones said that children had an opportunity to celebrate National Night Out at the center earlier in the day.
“We had some basketball tournaments and some other fun activities just to give our kids a chance to celebrate early, so that tonight we could focus our attention on the partnerships with the community and police, and neighborhood camaraderie,” she said.
The CYS staff will host an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 14 so families can learn more about the Youth Center.
Members of the Fort Drum Bike Patrol also attended National Night Out, but they are already familiar faces in the housing areas. Spc. Joseph Lujan, with the 511th Military Police Company, said that he has only been on the Bike Patrol for a month but he spends as much time every day talking with community members.
“I try to talk with everyone I can,” he said. “It’s actually pretty cool seeing people outside, and the kids playing basketball, because it’s really nice in the North Country during the summertime. You don’t see as many during the winter.”
Lujan said that community policing means developing relationships throughout the housing areas and building trust between residents and law enforcement.
“We actually do care for the community and all of Fort Drum,” he said. “To me, this is about developing that trust so that people know we will take care of them.”
The National Night Out campaign launched in August 1984 with 2.5 million neighbors participating across 400 communities, and it has since grown to more than 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities.
“National Night Out is celebrated in neighborhoods across the country, but what makes it special for us is that this is our community,” Julian said. “The military police here are intertwined within the community – these are your neighbors who live and work with you. We’re here, we are in your community and we are here to serve you.”
More photos from National Night Out are available at www.flickr.com/photos/drum10thmountain/albums/72157719647599162.