Thurmont & Emmitsburg Celebrate National Night Out

James Rada, Jr.

Excited children mounted police motorcycles, climbed into the driver’s seats of fire engines, and poked their heads out of the top hatch of an armored SWAT vehicle, as they met local police and emergency services personnel during National Night Out on August 6, 2019.

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler is a big supporter of National Night Out. “You can build more trust between the community and police,” he said. “We can build a partnership with the community for community policing.”

Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities saw hundreds of people turn out to learn more about the people who protect their communities, to have fun with hands-on activities, and to enjoy great food.

The goal of National Night Out is to “heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for participation in anti-crime, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, send a message to criminals letting them know that neighbors are organized and fighting back.”

National Night Out has been around since 1984. Initially, National Night Out involved citizens sitting out on their front porches to show they were united in the fight against crime. The event has grown to include block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and safety demonstrations in more than 16,000 communities. Thurmont has hosted an event since 2005, and Emmitsburg has participated since 2017.

Thurmont held its event in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department. Children enjoyed pony rides, jumping in a bounce house, and meeting Thurmont’s K-9 officer. Various community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, Thurmont Addiction Commission, and Thurmont Regional Library, had booths where visitors could learn more about what the organizations do. Thurmont Police also offered tours of their police station.

Sarah Campbell, the public information officer with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, said, “National Night Out allows the community, especially adolescents and youth, to do hands-on activities, to meet people, and to be educated.”

In Emmitsburg, National Night Out filled Community Park. It not only featured local emergency services personnel and their equipment, but also the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Kenyon Beeman attended National Night Out for the first time, accompanied by his girlfriend and her children. “It’s a nice event to bring people out,” he said. “I think it definitely helps the police seem more human.”

Emmitsburg’s National Night Out featured K-9 demonstrations, SWAT demonstrations, music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Emmitsburg Commission President Cliff Sweeney pointed out that all of the free food and activities were donated to the activity.

Cover Photo (by James Rada, Jr.): Hayden McKenney, 12, of Emmitsburg, tries on SWAT gear used by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office during Emmitsburg National Night Out.

Hundreds turn out for Thurmont National Night Out, held in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department on August 6.

At the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration, kids are excited to see the inside of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office armored SWAT vehicle, a Lenco Bearcat that seats up to 10 people who are protected inside from firearms rounds.

Katelyn Klink, 7, of Thurmont, enjoys a pony ride at the Thurmont National Night Out celebration.

(from left) Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Emmitsburg Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman, Emmitsburg Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, and Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs enjoy the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration in Community Park.

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