A ‘night out’ with local law enforcement

Community event meant to build trust between residents, police

By Karen Kissiah
PeeDeePost.com

CHERAW, S.C. — The National Night Out event at Centennial Park in Cheraw Tuesday evening offered a variety of activities for the young and old, giving the people of the community an opportunity to get to know members of local law enforcement in a positive, fun-filled environment.

And that was the point.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Local law enforcement officers interacted with area youth in a positive environment on Tuesday during National Night Out.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Local law enforcement officers interacted with area youth in a positive environment on Tuesday during National Night Out.

Hot dogs and cake, bounce houses and turns at a video game console were for the taking. Policemen blew up punching balloons for the children, and one officer even admitted some of those balloons may have been filled with “hot air.”

As Cheraw Police Chief Keith Thomas finished a piece of the cake that was served to the crowd, he said, “I’ve had about as much fun as anybody tonight. And that’s what it’s all about.”
Thomas, along with Cheraw Town Council member Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon, organized the event. Both said they were extremely pleased with the turnout. Participating agencies included the Cheraw Police Department, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, Cheraw Rescue, Cheraw Fire Department, Chesterfield County Coordinating Council, Pee Dee Coalition, Chesterfield-Marlboro EOC Inc. Head Start and the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Positive Impact on Youth.
“Of the five years we’ve been having it, I think this has been the biggest crowd,” said Ellerbe-Shannon.
“This event has always been intended to foster relationships with the young people of the community,” said Thomas, “and this is the perfect place and opportunity for doing that.”
Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Plenty of room for frisbee at Centennial Park in downtown Cheraw.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Plenty of room for frisbee at Centennial Park in downtown Cheraw.

“We want to let young people know we’re just like they are,” said Thomas. “We want them to be comfortable around us.”

Thomas said that if young people can be comfortable around law enforcement they will be more likely to seek help in the future if confronted with a problem.
“It will be too late to establish those kinds of relationships if we wait until they get in trouble,” said Thomas.
“I enjoyed how they got the community and the little kids together,” said Caitlyn Parker, 15, of Cheraw.
Another young person, Shelby Robinson, a 2014 graduate of Central High School, said she gained helpful information for career opportunities from the SC Department of Juvenile Justice.
Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Filed in: Cheraw, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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