Fighting crime takes night out Taneytown program to enlist support for police from residents

August 04, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

In observance of National Night Out Against Crime, Taneytown residents will join state and local police tonight for the local version of neighbors reclaiming their streets and showing appreciation for law enforcement agencies.

In Carroll County, a similar program was held in New Windsor last year and in Mount Airy in 1995. The program rotates among county municipalities -- though no event was held in 1996.

Tonight's program will feature a parade through the city of 5,000, a picnic at Memorial Park at the west end of town, and demonstrations by law enforcement units. It is intended to entertain but also to leave a lasting impression: The fight against crime can be won when community members help the police.

Summing up last year's affair, New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said it was a night to learn about the complexities of law enforcement, see neighbors and "go home with a real positive attitude" about supporting the police.

New Windsor participates in the Maryland Resident Trooper program, paying a portion of the salary and benefits for a state trooper assigned to police the town.

Taneytown has a police force of nine, headed by Chief Melvin Diggs.

For Diggs, tonight will afford a chance to thank cooperative police and fire agencies, business leaders and residents for the help his department regularly receives.

More importantly, "It's a chance for the citizens of Taneytown to unite, have a fun time and get the message out loud and clear that they will support police and will not tolerate crime in their city," Diggs said.

Col. David B. Mitchell, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, is expected to attend, showing support for Taneytown's anti-crime initiative.

Other official participants will include Lt. Leonard Armstrong, commander of the Westminster barracks; Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes; Taneytown Mayor W. Robert Flickinger; and state Del. Ellen Willis Miller, a Westminster Democrat.

Representatives from police departments in Hampstead and Manchester and from the Carroll County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving also are expected.

Diggs enlisted schoolchildren to pass out fliers announcing tonight's festivities to business owners and residents, allowing students to earn community service hours toward state graduation requirements.

The public is invited to gather at Taneytown Bank & Trust at Baltimore Street and Trevanion Road. The parade will begin at 7 p.m. and proceed west to Memorial Park, where several dignitaries will make brief comments and volunteer firefighters will serve free hot dogs and beverages.

"I'll especially want to thank the firefighters for all the support they give to our department," Diggs said.

During the picnic, those attending will be treated to entertainment, the chief said.

A state police helicopter will fly overhead before the parade and is expected to be at the park for inspection, Diggs said.

"State police are also bringing a K-9 unit and a motorcycle unit and will tow in a car containing two crash dummies to promote the use of seat belts," he said.

The town police dog unit will put on demonstrations, he said.

Politicians are expected, but Diggs said they'll take a back seat to the night's community commitment against crime.

Pub Date: 8/04/98

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