The aroma of grilling hot dogs, live music and plenty of safety personnel ready to answer questions are planned for NNO.
By Mary O’KEEFE
National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and, with the spotlight focused recently on law enforcement, this event is more important than ever for the community to reach out across the blue line to meet their local emergency responders.
NNO began in 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. It began as a way to get community members and emergency responders, including law enforcement and fire, to meet and talk to each other.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept./Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station will be holding an open house as part of the NNO. The rear employee parking lot will be open and guided tours will be offered of the station. In the past this event has been held in parking lots at Ralph’s Marketplace and Ross Dress for Less; however, this time the LASD is inviting everyone to their home.
“The event will be at the station’s parking [lot] in the back of the station from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. We will have some classic cars from Early Rodders, [we will serve] hot dogs, chips and water,” said Dep. Alex Covian. “There will be various organizations participating in the event with information and brochures.”
In addition to meeting law enforcement, including LASD and California Highway Patrol, the L.A. County Fire Dept. will be represented. Residents can speak to firefighters about how important it is to be ready to evacuate during wildfires. The LACoFD has a program “Ready, Set, Go” that gives residents a guideline on how to get ready to leave fast when and if the notice to evacuate comes through.
“[It is] very important [to evacuate when asked],” Covian said. “When [we] go to some of these neighborhoods and [ask] people to evacuate they start asking a lot of questions as to why they need to leave. This prevents us from going on to other neighborhoods.”
Emergency responders will be available to answer questions on the Sand Fire including evacuations and drones flying in fire air space. Drones are also an issue with law enforcement. Covian said he had seen drones flying over crime scenes looking, apparently, for that “perfect” photo. He said he understands the appeal of drones but not flying in fire airspace or during sensitive investigations.
“A lot of the use of drones is just common sense. When you have helicopter activity or a fire that is depending on [firefighting] aircraft and you have these drones flying around that [hinders emergency responders],” he said.
Covian added that even a small drone can cause great damage to a helicopter or plane.
In addition to emergency responders, sheriff deputies will be able to answer questions regarding crime in the La Cañada and La Crescenta areas.
“[Crime] comes in waves,” Covian said. “In this area, when you look at the crime rate, it is so low compared to the areas around us. There are not many cities like this. Since June 24 there have been no residential burglaries in La Cañada Flintridge or La Crescenta.”
Covian credited the community in helping to keep the crime stats low, adding that people in the area are alert and call when they see something or someone suspicious.
NNO is a way to keep communication open.
“The people here are pretty vigilant. If they see a [suspicious] car sitting in the neighborhood too long they call and that helps,” he said. He also credited the detectives at the CV Station who work with other law enforcement personnel and have been part of teams that have made several arrests of those committing local burglaries.
In addition to the event at CV Station there will also be NNO neighborhood events held throughout the community, many in conjunction with Neighborhood Watch programs. One very active Neighborhood Watch organization is the Sycamore Woods Neighborhood Watch group. For years the group has hosted a NNO in their area with Glendale police and fire representatives. The Sycamore Woods Neighborhood Watch is asking neighbors to donate a new/unwrapped item, gift card or certificate for goods or services for a raffle at this year’s event.
“Our neighbors and the Crescenta Valley Water District are again hosting the event at the [CVWD] facility on the grassy shaded area on Glenwood and Sycamore avenues,” reads the Sycamore Woods NNO invitation. The facility is located at 3730 Glenwood Ave.
Glendale police are also supporting NNO at about 40 different locations throughout the city. Glendale police and fire officers will be at the various locations with Chief Robert Castro and members of the Glendale City Council at many of the events.
Sunland Tujunga are also hosting a NNO event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Little Landers Park and Bolton Hall Museum (10110 Commerce Ave., Tujunga).
“For all you mobile device gamers, Bolton Hall is a PokeStop for the new Pokemon Go game, and several of our (Little Landers Historical Society) members have already found and captured Pokemon in and around Bolton Hall,” according to the LLHS statement.
“The purpose of National Night Out,” said Nina Royal, safety chair of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, “is to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together.”
For their event, there will be a variety of events held at Little Landers Park including face painting, an art contest in the street with chalk, a contest with prizes for the kids regarding public safety and a local band playing to entertain everyone. Police cadets will be grilling hot dogs and there will be food donated by various restaurants in town. Retired Sgt. Harold Egger will also be on hand to help with the street closures and whatever else needs to be done.
In celebration of NNO, Royal recommends that residents install blue lightbulbs in home lights to honor the police and to create awareness of this event. LAFD will also be taking part in this event as they play a major role in public safety, especially now with the fires, according to the safety chair.