Cole Aufderhaar, 5, meets Rico the evidence recovery and narcotics dog. His handler Lieutenant Joseph Welker put on a demonstration with Rico during National Night Out Tuesday night in Harmon Park. (Staff photo/Michelle Meunier)
National Night Out was celebrated last night throughout the country and right here in Harmon Park.
Hundreds of community members within Auglaize County showed up to interact with the local law enforcement, tour emergency vehicles, meet the K-9 unit and enjoy a cookout.
According to Auglaize County Sheriff Deputy Mike Peterson National Night Out gives members of the community, especially kids an opportunity to see police officers, firefighters and other law enforcement personnel as friendly and non-threatening.
“It gets everybody to know that we’re good guys, instead of only seeing us when we are throwing people in jail,” Peterson said. “This is kind of our way to give back, to show the kids that we’re friends and they can come to us for help any time they need it.”
Lieutenant and K-9 handler for the Wapakoneta Police Department Joseph Welker agreed with Peterson saying events like this really help kids see them as someone to go to if help is needed.
“Being K-9 handlers kids see us at schools,” Welker said. “Then when kids see you out on the street it kind of helps.”
Wapakoneta resident Sheena Behr has helped with National Night Out in the past, but was able to bring her children to experience the fun this year.
“I think it’s important for the kids to not be scared of an officer, and if something were to happen to be able to be comfortable enough to go up and talk to them,” Behr said. “It kind of gives them the idea not to be scared of fires and not to be scared of stuff that is going on because there is someone there to help them.”
For the full story, see the Wednesday, Aug. 6 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.