Night Out Against Crime another success in Taylorsville
This Unified Police rescue vehicle cost the U.S. Army about $750,000; but local law enforcement bought it on surplus for only $35,000. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
Gallery: Night Out Against Crime [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
Taylorsville City’s fifth annual Night Out Against Crime provided residents with the chance to meet emergency responders, observe specialized equipment, climb a rock wall and learn exactly why they never want to tangle with a Unified Police K-9.
The event was held outside the city offices, at 2600 West 5400 South, and featured several emergency response units.
“We started our local Night Out Against Crime several years ago, primarily to help residents learn how to be safe in their homes and neighborhoods,” said Taylorsville Public Safety Committee Chairman Tony Henderson. “We hold our event in conjunction with the national Night Out Against Crime, though not always on the exact same night.”
Henderson is one of several longtime Taylorsville residents who answered a call from the city — right after it was incorporated, in 1996 — to offer volunteer assistance. He’s been with the Public Safety Committee ever since.
“I didn’t show up (back in 1996) asking for a specific committee assignment,” he said. “I just told them, ‘put me where you need me.’ I’ve been on this committee ever since.”
Another Taylorsville Public Safety Committee member is Unified Police Detective Scott Lloyd.
“I’ve been in law enforcement 28 years, 21 of them here in Taylorsville,” Lloyd said. “I think Night Out Against Crime has helped (Unified Police) build stronger relationships with residents. Our goal is to teach people how to be cautious and how to keep their eyes open for things that are out of place in their neighborhoods.”
Lloyd said police also gather information during the night from people interested in establishing community watch groups in their neighborhoods.
“These groups can be very effective,” he said. “I know of several instances when community watch tips have led directly to important arrests.”
Lloyd was also happy to show off the Unified Police Rescue Unit during Night Out Against Crime. He said the oversized rig originally cost the U.S. Army about $750,000.
“Through Army surplus we bought the rescue unit — and gave it a nice, new paint job – for about $35,000,” Lloyd said. “With its bulletproof glass and other safety features, the unit is valuable particularly in active shooter situations.”
Unified Police also offered a K-9 unit demonstration during the evening.
Other emergency responders participating in Night Out Against Crime included the Unified Fire Authority and the National Guard, which provided a climbing wall.
Taylorsville resident Charisse Medico raced her daughter Michaela, 12, up the wall. It was their first time to visit Night Out Against Crime.
“We live just around the corner but missed it last year,” Charisse said. “After seeing all the posts on Facebook last year, we wanted to be sure to get the kids over here this summer.”
Her husband Jason added, “Besides having a little fun, we came to help our kids learn when to speak up (if they see something wrong happening in their neighborhood) and when to not speak (to strangers). We also want them to understand, police officers are our friends.”
Several Boy Scouts visited Night Out Against Crime to work on various merit badges, including crime prevention, emergency preparedness, fire safety, radio, safety, and search and rescue.
Members of Taylorsville BSA Troop 771 attended their first Night Out Against Crime, led by Scoutmaster Shawn Huffman.
“Besides working on their merit badges, we also want them to learn more about how to help make their homes and neighborhoods safe,” Huffman said.
The Taylorsville Chick-fil-A restaurant also got involved in the event by providing meals to the first responders.
City volunteers said the Public Safety Committee has been involved in many worthwhile activities over the years, including publishing a drug abuse prevention pamphlet, surveying the condition of sidewalks, streetlights and crosswalks, hosting gang prevention conferences and selling radon gas test kits.
“But of all the activities we do, I think our Night Out Against Crime is proving to be as successful as any of them,” Henderson said.