Friday, August 8, 2014
Jump castles, water slides and hot dogs make for a fun day for any kid.
Add awareness education about the dangers of drugs and gangs, and the day takes on a more profound meaning.
That’s the goal of National Night Out that took place Tuesday, Aug. 5. It’s a nationwide initiative that puts local law enforcement agencies together with the communities they serve in a fun, educational atmosphere.
Parkway Village Apartments, a public housing complex in Sangaree, has taken part in the campaign for the past two decades, according to the complex’s manager, Carolyn Allen. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office is its law enforcement partner.
“This is an important event for us,” Allen said. “We work with law enforcement to make sure this is a safe place to live.”
Resident Service Coordinator Amanda Taylor organizes the event, lining up donations of food and entertainment from area businesses.
“It’s a good bit of work, but well worth the effort,” she said. “Our area businesses are really good about donating. We get a lot of cooperation that helps make this possible.”
Kids gleefully played on a water slide and in a bounce house, ate hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn, and got their faces painted by resident artist Shenna Gaddist.
Besides the fun, Allen said this is a way for the children to interact with law enforcement in a positive way.
“This encourages children to abide by the law,” Allen said. “They get to meet police officers in a positive way, not just when something is wrong.”
Sgt. Jimmy Ross of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office was on hand to talk to residents about the dangers of drugs and gang activity, and to educate them on the way his department works to keep people safe.
“This makes it easier for younger folks to see us first-hand,” he said. “It gives them a positive image of us.”