By Beth David, Editor
The west lawn of Fairhaven High School filled up with people eager to get to know their local police and fire department personnel as the town of Fairhaven held its first ever National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, 8/1. The event featured free food, drink, tunes and a chance to “dunk a cop,” in a dunk tank.
Boston Bettencourt got in some baseball practice and a good laugh when he threw the ball and hit the mark hard enough to dunk temporary Fairhaven Animal Control Officer Terry Cripps.
The youngster said he liked the idea, “Because they just splash in the water.”
A crowd gathered around to watch the K-9 demonstration by Taunton police officer Rob Swartz and his patrol dog Blitz, a German shepherd. Rich Flaherty, a K-9 officer with the West Bridgewater Police Department, drew the short end of the stick when he had to don the protective suit and get attacked by Blitz as part of the demonstration.
Children (and adults) in the audience had a chance to ask questions. They learned that as a patrol dog, Blitz helps with searches for missing children, the elderly and criminals. Blitz is not trained to bite, said Officer Swartz, but he will if he has to.
The important thing, he said, is for children to understand that if Blitz is looking for them if they are lost in the woods, that Blitz will not bite them. He will protect them.
“Suppose he can’t find me,” asked one little boy.
Then we will use more dogs, said Officer Swartz, and not stop until you are found.
He explained that when humans smell a pizza, Blitz smells, the cheese, the sauce, the pepperoni, and the shampoo in the delivery person’s hair. all as separate smells. That is why he can track the way he does.
A about 5:30, a state police helicopter circled around and landed on the football field at the high school, a designated landing spot. Unfortunately, not one had the key for the gate, so the crowd could only watch from afar. But that did not dampen spirits one bit. Watching, and hearing, the helicopter held its own fascination.
The public was invited to interact with police and fire personnel, and had a chance to inspect emergency vehicles, including a new fire truck and an antique fire truck, police cruiser, and police rescue boat.
The event also featured music by KJ Tunes, a bounce house, and a variety of vendor/ information booths, including child ID kits by New York Life, New Bedford Veterans Center, and the Fairhaven 2040/ Master Plan Committee. Children (and adults) could also leave messages of support to police in chalk on the walkway.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. To learn more visit www.natw.org
Click here to download the entire 8/3/17 issue: 08-03-17 NatNightOut