Nikki Garrett Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Hesperia) -Police Departments around the High Desert hosted Tuesday night the “28th Annual National Night Out” program motivating residents to unite against crime. This unique nationwide crime prevention program brings together police, fire, the CHP, city departments, local businesses, and others to educate the public on crime prevention and safety information.
The Hesperia event, which was held in the Super Target parking lot, on Tuesday was a great opportunity for residents to meet some of their law enforcement and safety officers, to see (and in some cases climb on or in) the equipment that they use, and ask questions of these officials.
One of the most popular booths was right in front of the Hesperia Police Incident Command Center where an impromptu boxing ring was set up and the Police Activities Leagues boxing program put on demonstrations for the crowd.
The Hesperia Police Explorers Post provided information on drowning prevention and awareness. Jarred Kabluyen one of the Explorers, said “We’re doing demonstrations with the pool and telling parents what they can do to prevent drowning. We tell them not to walk away from their children while they are in the bath tub or the pool.”
Officer Zubieta of the CHP provided information to parents on car seat safety. “We want to make sure that the parents in the High Desert are aware that the California Highway Patrol provides a free service. We inspect car seats, we install car seats, and we make sure that their car seat fits their child. If they are under six years of age or under 60 pounds, they must be in a car seat. Parents can call our office and make an appointment, and we’ll show them how to install the car seat correctly and that it is safe, that there is nothing wrong with it, and that there is no recall.”
The Hesperia Zoo brought several of their animals out to show the crowd, including a tarantula that one of the zoo keepers held for everyone to see up close, and a beautiful barn owl named Owlbert. There were also two small deer in a pen. Lots of children were wowed by the creatures; many had not ever seen them before up close.
Hesperia’s Community Response Team, or CERT, was providing information on safety for families in the event of an emergency. Brigit Bennington, Emergency Services Coordinator, explained, “We’re telling people about our CERT training so they can be prepared in the event of a disaster. We hold classes quarterly, 20 hours, and training includes disaster preparedness, fire safety, and more.”
Children enjoyed climbing into the big fire trucks and on the equipment that the Bureau of Land Management brought out, including an ATV and a sand rail. Officer Trujillo with the BLM said, “We’re here letting kids climb into the police vehicles that they hardly ever see. We’re also educating them and their parents on ATV and motorcycle safety, and we’re answering any questions that the public may have. Like where can they ride, where they can shoot, basically anything that falls under our jurisdiction.”
The fire department came out to educate the community on fire safety. Captain John Botowski with Hesperia Fire said, “This time of year we are emphasizing the importance of defensible space and fire prevention. We’re also talking to a lot of kids. The kids ask if they can turn on the lights on the fire engine, if the coat is heavy, what we use the shovel for, and how can they become a firefighter.”
The No Drugs American Association had information on preventing illegal drug use for children. Ernestine, one of the volunteers, explained, “Our goal is to stop drugs before they start. And that’s in the younger kids. We want to get them educated on the harmful effects of drugs so they will be less likely to use them. We are giving parents information to educate their kids and talking points to start talking to their kids about this in simple language.”
Y102 and The Fox 106.5 were set up and Coleen Quinn was there to meet listeners and give out T-shirts.
There were also exhibits by the Police Activities League, the city of Hesperia, the Hesperia Recreation and Parks District, and various High Desert Gateway Shopping Center businesses. Many residents came out to enjoy the evening making it a great success.