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Carroll Valley has a night out
 with public safety agencies

James Rada, Jr.

(9/1) As the STAT MedEvac helicopter circled the Carroll Valley Borough offices and landed in one of the borough fields, children flocked to it like mice to the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The helicopter was the undoubted star of the Carroll Valley National Night Out on Aug. 4.

"We got here at right time, just when the helicopter was landing," said Ami Sanders of Fairfield who was one of the more than 200 people who attended the event.

Booths and activities lined the walkways at the Carroll Valley Commons at 5685 Fairfield Road. Though there was no rain to ruin the event, temperatures were in the upper 80s.

"We always seem to have the hottest day of the year for our celebration," said Carroll Valley Police Chief Richard L Hileman II.

Public safety agencies brought their vehicles and equipment out for people to look at. Officers were on hand for demonstrations and to explain the various vehicle features. The Center for Traffic Safety did child safety seat checks.

Tammy Lytle with the American Red Cross attended with their Red Cross emergency canteen vehicle. "We are giving people information on how to prepare for emergencies and disasters and what supplies you'll need," she said.

The Good Samaritan Lodge #336, Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania of Gettysburg offered child identification kits that included fingerprinting, a child video and a take-home DNA collection kit. Gettysburg Bike & Fitness conducted bike safety inspections. K-9 Max and his handler Timothy Biggins were on hand to demonstrate police dog tactics.

"I think they have a lot of neat things here," said Kellie Macharski of Fairfield who came with her 10-year-old daughter Madison. "I'm getting a lot of good information."

Madison added, "I like it. Kids can do something and adults can do something."

Crash-test dummies Vince and Larry and Smokey the Bear were also in attendance to greet kids and adults alike. Boy Scout Troop #76 gave children under 12 years old a free hot dog, chips and drinks.

"It's a great opportunity to get the community out to meet the police and public safety agencies while they enjoy themselves," Hileman said. "It's an opportunity to meet the people who are protecting you."

This was the fourth year Carroll Valley had participated in National Night Out. The program seeks to bring out community members across the country on the same night. National Night Out's goal is to heighten crime prevention and drug prevention and to open the lines of communication between public safety agencies and the communities they serve.

Hileman believes the program achieves its goals. "I see people on the street and we've met and talked here," he said. "It gives us a chance to explain why we're doing what we do and they can tell us what is on their minds."

Sanders also felt the event achieved its goals. "Every community needs to do this. It's great for the kids so they won't be so intimidated by the police," she said.