During National Night Out on August 6, 7-year-old Pierce Rosencranz had the same initial reaction to police that many people have.
“My boy, Pierce, was hiding behind me until the officers (photographed) loosened his nerves up by telling him his cool hair was the first thing he needed to join the police force,” said Pierce’s mom, Vicky Rosencranz.
That moment exemplified the reason National Night Out was brought to the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company in the Eastern District five years ago. Law enforcement officials want the community to see them as a resource, not as an enemy.
With giveaways, games for kids, music, and police and fire vehicles on display, National Night Out again created a welcoming atmosphere where families mingled with first responders.
Sergeant Erin Brandt was one of those officers in attendance. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to interact with the community members in a non-stressful environment, and just enjoy everyone together,” Brandt said. “It was a great family and community event.”
Another sergeant, Bryan Isaac, enjoyed educating people about police work. “The smiles on the kids’ and parents’ faces when they pose with our police helmet and shield is priceless,” he said. “It's such an honor to work for this great county and state.”
The Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office brought two trucks and partnered with the Anne Arundel County Police Department to offer K-9 demonstrations.
Sheriff Jim Fredericks said National Night Out is just one way his office is expanding its presence in the community.
“People need to be able to approach us in a good fashion and that doesn’t happen every day,” Fredericks said. “National Night Out is just one more tool for us. Everybody knows the police come when you call 911, but it’s great for them to get to know us as well.
“People assume everyone in uniform does the same job,” he continued. “We can do the same job, but we have different roles.”
While hundreds of visitors packed the outdoor parking lot at Earleigh Heights, other attendees went inside to pose for pictures with costumed heroes, to grab food from local restaurants and to find more activities provided by vendors.
Severna Park Kiwanis had a craft station specially geared toward the event. “The kids are making cards and thank you notes and taking them to the police officers,” explained Rachel Jacobs, past president of Severna Park Kiwanis, which aspires to improve the area’s quality of life through activities promoting health and education.
Event organizer Sam Tanner was pleased with the turnout, as was Captain Jeff Adams, the new commander of Eastern District.
“A great time was had by all,” Adams said. “I want to thank the community for their support by attending, in addition to the organizers and vendors who help make the evening a success.”
Participating Neighborhood Organizations
Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce
Greater Severna Park Council
Cape St. Claire Improvement Association
Broadneck Council of Communities
Pasadena Business Association
Arnold Preservation Council
Greater Pasadena Council