Santee hosts National Night Out

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“I just want to say “Thank you to all the police officers,” said 9-year-old Skyler Weeden. Weeden was attending the National Night Out at Santee’s Trolley Square on Aug. 1 with her family. The annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. These nation-wide block parties include a variety of activities for kids, such as clowns for face painting and making sword balloons, food, and many law enforcement exhibits, vehicles, and demonstrations.

“I just want to say “Thank you to all the police officers,” said 9-year-old Skyler Weeden. Weeden was attending the National Night Out at Santee’s Trolley Square on Aug. 1 with her family. The annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. These nation-wide block parties include a variety of activities for kids, such as clowns for face painting and making sword balloons, food, and many law enforcement exhibits, vehicles, and demonstrations.

John Lorne, or “Whistle Stop,” his clown moniker, was manning the clown booth with other clowns such as “Bon Bon” creating balloon animals and providing face painting. The clowns’ appearance dovetailed with International Clown Week that is the first week in August. Across the nation, clowns work hard to put smiles on all faces with performances and appearances at events like National Night Out.

The County of San Diego Sheriff’s Santee Command, representing Santee and Lakeside, offered up activities for the kids such as the San Diego All-Star Clowns, snow cones, food, music by 105.7 MAX FM, and much more. They collected a variety of businesses and agencies to participate for the kids to enjoy and learn about.

“We’re here to talk to kids, shoppers, and adults.  People call us cops but we really are peace officers. We are here with respect for our communities,” said SDCS Commander Anthony Ray.

Ray continued with “National Night Out is across the community. We are celebrating and meeting the public. We have community groups and businesses here. We have clowns this year.” Ray said kids could get pictures in or by the Sheriff’s and Santee Fire Department’s trucks and vehicles. Ray estimated 300-400 would filter thru during the span of 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Santee Sheriff’s Captain Hank Turner was on hand as well to over-see all activities. Those activities included a K-9 demonstration put on by Sheriff Deputy A. Elmore and his dog Banjar. Horses supervised by volunteers were available for the kids to pet or see up close.

Border Patrol Agent Sergio Rojas said, “This is a great way for the Border Patrol and command to come together and answer questions the community might have.” Santee Fire Fighter Billy “Catfish” Walkenhorst echoed that sentiment with “This is mainly a law enforcement event but we all come together and do demonstrations of our duties.”

TIP (Trauma Intervention Programs of San Diego) Citizen Volunteer Chris Thomas staffed its booth and said, “The police and fire fighters call us to traumatic scenes to comfort the family.” One of their goals it to provide “emotional first aid” to survivors of tragedy.

Of note was literature available to attendees such as “Marijuana and Driving” which set forth the dangers of driving high that AAA Insurance printed and was distributed. Educational events and literature, fun, and community outreach by law enforcement were all on display at this National Night Out.

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