National Night Out
Sgt. Clint Blackmon of the Hoover Police Department’s special response team explains the use of a less-lethal weapon, which fires bean bags and rubber bullets, to a 2014 Hoover National Night Out participant. Photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department.
Area residents will have a chance to get up close and personal with those charged with the city’s safety at Hoover National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
The annual event, held in The Grove’s Super Target parking lot from 6 to 8 p.m., is part of a national celebration, bringing together the community and representatives of local law enforcement and public safety to promote a safe environment.
Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector said his department looks forward to the annual opportunity to interact with the public, which “has exploded into one of the city’s major events.”
“The attendance is unbelievable and it gives us the chance to showcase and display equipment we use in our job,” Rector said. “It might be the tools we use daily or others we may call on only two or three times a year.”
Some of those “tools” on display will include a helicopter from the Hoover/Jefferson County Air Support Unit, and the department’s Command Bus, a mobile command center, Rector said.
“Hoover Police Lt. Paul Bonnecarrere is a helicopter pilot, so when there are needs for air support, traffic patrols or search assistance, we are ready to go,” he said. “And the Command Bus allows us to set up a post and dispatch center from anywhere, including very remote areas.”
Visitors to National Night Out can also expect to see demonstrations from Hoover’s six-man Harley-Davidson motor unit and representatives of the department’s K-9 unit.
“Our motor unit guys have phenomenal riding skills and will show them on a mini course,” Gregg said. “And our K-9s, which include narcotics, patrol and bomb dogs, will be interacting with the public. Let’s face it – everybody loves the police puppies.”
A fingerprinting booth, high performance and antique car show and various children’s activities will also be featured.
Hoover Fire Department Executive Officer Rusty Lowe said his department will be showing off some its largest apparatus, including a ladder truck and heavy rescue unit.
“Everyone pretty much understands what a regular fire engine does, but most don’t see these two pieces of equipment up close or know how they work,” Lowe said.
The department’s Fire Prevention Bureau will also set up its “smoke house,” a mobile structure that simulates a house fire, complete with a smoke machine, Lowe said.
“Kids learn what it’s like to be in a house fire, how to check for hot doorknobs and then to crawl out,” he said. “We’ll also have a large inflatable with a fire prevention theme that helps teach “stop, drop and roll” to escape a fire.”
National Night Out is a great stage for the Hoover Fire Department to emphasize the Alabama initiative, “Turn your attention to fire prevention,” Lowe said.
“Last year, Alabama led the nation in fire deaths per capita, so we want to get back to the basics, really pushing the use of smoke detectors, home escape plans and other safety precautions that should be part of everyday living,” Lowe said. “This event is the perfect opportunity to have the public’s eyes and ears to do something about it.”
Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey said he couldn’t agree more and plans to be one of the approximately 8,000 participants expected at this year’s National Night Out.
“It’s a great night for our citizens to see what our public safety, police and fire departments do on a daily basis, plus some of the impressive equipment they use,” Ivey said.