A Night Out for family safety

A group of area parents have one less thing to worry about after Tuesday night’s 28th annual Nationa

A group of area parents have one less thing to worry about after Tuesday night’s 28th annual National Night Out.

It only took a few minutes for 5-year-old Zane Chace to get his picture taken, fingerprints documented, and height and weight measured. But the laminate identification card he left Veterans Field with could save his life.

Zane was one of many children whose parents showed up to Tuesday’s community event to raise awareness about crime and drug prevention and promote police-community partnerships. Families converged on Veterans Field on Locust Avenue from 6 to 10 p.m. to join more than 37 million people nationwide participating in America’s Night Out Against Crime.

“It’s very nice to get us all together and have the city come together as one,” said Jamie Chace, of Amsterdam, as she looked over her son’s new Child Watch of North America ID card. “This helps get everybody together and gets them out to meet more people and see our police force in person.”

Her husband Jeff Chace is a member of the Amsterdam Neighborhood Watch, which cosponsored the local event with the Amsterdam Police Department. Residents in Amsterdam and across the nation were asked to lock their doors, turn on any outside lights and spend the evening at their community events mingling with neighbors, police and local organizations.

Message: organize

Local and national law enforcement officials hope that events like Night Out will send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and willing to fight back.

It’s a fight Tishia Brinkman fully supports. The 44-year-old city resident joined her sister, niece and nephew Tuesday night in an effort to make her neighborhood safer.

“When they have the Mohawks games, there’s a lot of activity with the cops speeding up the road because kids run wild,” Brinkman said. “They destroy property, they spray paint cars. After I called they began patrolling more, especially the night of the games.”

She and her sister Carolann Gasner, also of Amsterdam, said it’s just one of the ways their local police department serves the city and its residents. Gasner’s children, Lindsey and Nolan, spent the early part of the evening enjoying the event’s bounce house, one of several activities for community members.

“People have to get involved or crime in our communities will just continue,” Gasner said.

Local organizations used the national event to advertise their services. The Amsterdam Fire Department and GAVAC medical services brought out their trucks and equipment to display. Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies showed off the department’s airboat, which can go anywhere in an emergency, deputies said. Nearby, Amsterdam police showed off their K-9 unit with an evening demonstration.

Local vendors sold jewelry, cutlery, crafts and art, as well as popular fare like cotton candy, funnel cake, fried dough and hot dogs.

Education was also a theme at the Veterans Field event. As Child Watch of North America issued Kid Guard ID cards, members of Amsterdam’s Neighborhood Watch and TARGET, a national corporate sponsor of the event, talked with residents and handed out safety packets and flashlights.

Born-and-raised Amsterdam residents Betty and Jack Terwilliger brought their grandchildren to the event, where they would enjoy dinner and join the neighborhood conversation on crime.

Most people view their local police as unapproachable, Terwilliger said. Rather than complain that police don’t do enough, she said people in any community should work with police, offer tips and help them do their job.

“Even though this is a small town, there’s still a bad element here as there is in every city and town,” said Betty Terwilliger. “So you have to work with the police force. The police are your friends, not your enemies.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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