DURYEA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Far too often, a person’s interaction with law enforcement and emergency responders revolves around some sort of stressful situation. But Saturday afternoon, locals had the chance to mingle with different agencies in a stress-free environment.
Even though the National Night Out was Tuesday, Duryea and the surrounding communities held theirs Saturday night with plenty of activities for people to indulge in
Rock-climbing, a dunk tank and as evidenced by a line, one of the main attractions for kids was face-painting. The Dupont and Duryea Crimewatch put it all together for everyone to enjoy like six-year-old Aiden Sweet.
“Thank you and good job on saving the day,” Sweet said.
“It gets the kids to get to know them. See what they actually do other than in a situation where it is an emergency. To see they are people like you and I,” Brittany Bomber of Duryea said.
This is the 10th year this community has been holding a National Night Out. It’s an opportunity for different agencies to interact with the people they protect and serve outside of an emergency situation.
“We’re here. We are relaxed. We’re talking to everybody. Police will be playing basketball with the kids. Chasing each other up the rock wall. It’s a great chance for everyone to come together get to know each other,” Dupont Crimewatch president Bob Price said.
It’s also a chance to teach the public what to do in a dire situation. Police had one of their K-9s demonstrate a search. There was also a smoke house on site to teach families what to do to safely escape a house fire.
It’s hard to describe just how valuable these interactions are. Police say it can even help take the edge off for someone here who finds themself face to face with a responder in a more serious environment.
“We’re willing to talk and do whatever we need to do in a different atmosphere than being called to a house where there is a domestic or something like that going on,” Duryea Police Department chief Nicholas Lohman said.
Organizers say they always hold it on a Saturday because it tends to draw more people out, allowing them to build memories together and a stronger community.
Organizers estimated upwards of 500 people stopped by at Dupont and Duryea’s National Night Out.