Community the focus of El Cajon Police Department National Night Out

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K-9 demonstrations, community organizations, mini Waste Management trucks, kettle corn and lots of guns were some of the highlights for National Night Out, which is held the first Tuesday in August in over 15,000 communities across the country, drawing 37 million people each year. 

On Aug. 6, the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) held its annual National Night Out, engaging and educating the public in what they can do to help fight crime in East County.

K-9 demonstrations, community organizations, mini Waste Management trucks, kettle corn and lots of guns were some of the highlights for National Night Out, which is held the first Tuesday in August in over 15,000 communities across the country, drawing 37 million people each year. 

On Aug. 6, the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) held its annual National Night Out, engaging and educating the public in what they can do to help fight crime in East County.

Crisis Negotiation Officers displayed the tools used for crisis situations. 

“Everyday is different,” Detective Nick Sprecco said about the intrepid nature of a job he loves.  

The purpose of National Night Out is to get people and businesses involved in tackling illegal activities impacting their neighborhoods.

“National Night Out aims to raise awareness for crime prevention to how community partnerships, community and law enforcement can prevent crime,” said Chief Jim Redman, ECPD. “A good example of that is neighborhood watch. The community are the eyes and ears for police, when they band together and as group and look after their own neighborhood, when they see crime, they call police.”

Crime-free multi-housing is another example of how communities combat crime.

Stopping active criminals is just one way to combat crime. Preventing crime before it begins also has a place in the community, and there are many local organizations to help. From assistance with substance abuse, pet care and adoption, to relationship violence, National Night Out brought groups seeking people in the community who need to be helped, and want to help. The East County Community Change Project with the business coalition 2nd Street Alliance for a Better Community to help with three “major crime and nuisance concerns. Public intoxication, aggressive panhandling, and graffiti and vandalism.” The ECCCP supports the Deemed Approved Ordinance, proposed by the City of El Cajon to curtail crime associated with alcohol sales. The ordinance will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

A big draw was Fritz, the seven-year-old Belgian Malinois. Fritz is one of ECPD’s three police service dogs cross-trained as narcotic dogs. Fritz and three ECPD officers performed a K-9 demonstration in agitating, which is part of training (agitators are a volunteer position), which produced strong interest from the crowd of toddlers to seniors. Officer Kirk Darrow remotely opened the police K-9 vehicle door and within seconds Fritz had taken down his target. The swiftness of the animal was remarkable, the protective nature and odor-detecting capability they possess making them “an important part of the police community, they look for bad guys” said Officer Darrow. 

On two legs or four, the good guys of National Night Out armed East County residents with useful knowledge, should they feel helpless against crime. 

They are not. 

“Police-community partnership, and that’s what National Night Out is all about,” said Scheurn.

To learn more about National Night Out, visit www.natw.org.

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