National Night Out is good time with a serious mission

Westminster event draws a crowd to Dutterer's Park

  • Kenny Carlisle, a volunteer with the City of Westminster Police Department, gives Jaydon Villalta, right, and her sister, Jennifer, of Westminster, their own police badge during National Night Out festivities at Dutterer's Park.
Kenny Carlisle, a volunteer with the City of Westminster Police… (photo by Phil Grout )
August 10, 2012|By Katie V. Jones

Communities and local enforcement officials gathered together around Carroll County on Aug. 7 night to celebrate National Night Out. Whether over pizza, hot dogs or ice cream, everyone enjoyed the evening getting to know their neighbors — and showing a unified front against crime.

"I came to the park to walk and found this," said Miroslava Rosa, who was with her grandchildren, Abdielis Torres and Yareilys Santana, at Dutterer's Park in Westminster. "It's nice."

Westminster hosted five National Night Out events around the city. At Dutterer's, there were games, face painting, pizza and cake — as well as information from Westminster Police, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and campus security from McDaniel College. It was the first time the event was held at the location, which was previously held at a parking lot on Main Street.

"I think it is a lot better. It seems like more people are here," said Blaine Brown, the event's disc jockey for the last two years.

"It's very family friendly ... all the activities they have for kids," said Nina Christie, who was attending with friends. "I felt very welcome when we came in."

As the organizer of the Dutterer's celebration for the Junior Women's Club of Westminster, Susan Burk was pleased.

"People want to come out for a good time," Burk said.

A smaller crowd gathered at a celebration at the Eagleview community, which featured grilled hot dogs, raffles for Target gift certificates and bicycle helmets.

"We didn't get as big of crowd as expected," said Susie Coursey, an organizer of the event.

Still, "the kids are enjoying it," said Vanessa Burke, as children played with Hula Hoops and tried hopscotch. "It's good."

At Belle Grove Square, the community combined it's annual picnic with National Night Out this year. The event brought neighbors of all ages out.

"We just saw McGruff (the Crime Dog mascot)," said Felicia Price, who was with her daughter Jazmine Barrett, 3. "It is really good for kids."

"We've had a good turnout so far," said Sgt. Keith Benfer of the Westminster Police Department, who attended several of the city's National Night Out events. "The neighborhoods have been very supportive. We had the seniors out, young families, young kids; very diverse crowds."

Each of the events had tables where local officers had information as well as giveaway items such as junior badges for children.

"It's a good mix of what kids like and adults like ... information about car seats and kids' stuff like whistles," said Sarah Cabassa, a McDaniel College officer.

"It's nice (that) everyone comes," said Natalie Inskeep. "The police have been very supportive of our neighborhood."

Celebration in Sykesville

The new location for Eldersburg's National Night proved to be a success as well, as the grounds of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department were filled with people enjoying food and live entertainment.

That celebration was previously held at Carrolltown Center, but this year the host organization, the Freedom Area Citizens Council, moved it to the fire station.

"I think this is great," said Karen Leatherwood, a member of FACC. "Families can get information on fire safety and crime prevention."

Brian Barno, who came with his family, was appreciative of the information available, too, and said the event also carried another benefit — a chance to see progress of the rebuilt Sykesville fire house, which has been under construction.

"I get to see what's all available in our county," said Barno. "It's nice to see the fire house and the reconstruction of it, too."

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