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Clinton County DA, sheriff’s offices gear up for first-ever Night Out

LOCK HAVEN — Clinton County is a week away from its first-ever Night Out.

The event, put on by the county’s district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department, will take place from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Piper Building complex.

A Night Out event is a community-building campaign that promotes neighborhood camaraderie and police-community partnerships, which can help make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. The official date for the national Night Out is the first Tuesday in August.

However, according to Sheriff Kerry Stover, the county didn’t want to compete with other organizations in the region that would hold their own Night Out event.

The night will feature a wide variety of educational tools and visuals from local police, fire and other emergency response organizations throughout the county.

Including fire companies and other services isn’t extremely common for the event, Stover said.

“We decided to do the Night Out as its known, with law enforcement, but thought ‘let’s invite some first responders, too,'” he said. “Let the kids meet these people and see what services they provide.”

Parking for the event will be at the Piper Museum, with activities to be held in the Piper Building’s parking lot and green space between the building and the museum, Stover said.

Those attending will have to drive past the activities to the parking area, which will be coned off and volunteers offering directions.

In the parking lot of the commissioners’ offices, fire trucks, police vehicles and other apparatuses will be set up for members of the public to view. Seven fire companies are participating.

Stover noted helicopters from both the state police and Geisinger should also be landing in the area, too — although a set timeframe hasn’t been made.

“It all depends on if they have to be sent out to anything or not,” Stover explained.

Vendors will be set up in the grassy area between the Piper Building and the museum. They include: CareerLink, Ross Library, West Branch Drug and Alcohol, Salvation Army, Clinton County’s Probation Department, Camp Cadet and Early Learning Resources Group.

The sheriff’s department will be offering a wide variety of information packets and activities as well, which Stover has been gathering for months.

Activities will include having kids attempt to walk with “drunk” goggles; a bike rodeo courtesy of the Bald Eagle Nittany Valley Kiwanis Club; two bounce houses and more. Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Dalmation may also be making an appearance.

“We’re trying to help educate the parents and offer activities for kids and that can help them understand what their local police, emergency responders do,” Stover said.

Thanks to a donation from Walmart, the event will also have food — like hotdogs, Pepsi products and chips — for between 250 to 300 people. District Attorney Dave Strouse will man the grill for the event.

According to both Stover and Strouse, this event has been years in the making.

“We knew we wanted to do it, to help build relationships with fire services and police,” Stover said. “That was back in 2019. In 2020, with COVID concerns, we weren’t able to do it. And 2021 wasn’t a whole lot better.”

So, when 2022 seemed to show promise, Stover and Strouse formed a committee and began to prepare for the event.

“We’d like it to be a yearly thing and are hoping for a great turnout,” Stover said.

“There’s lots and lots of stuff to do,” Strouse said. “The sheriff and I saw this as an opportunity to engage the community with law enforcement and first responders.”

Both Stover and Strouse stressed how thankful they are for the many volunteers that will be helping with the event as well.

“There are lots and lots and lots of volunteers who are going to help out and we’re very appreciative of them,” Strouse said.

Stover noted that many are families of law enforcement officers along with local churches and other organizations.

The two also thanked their “gold” level sponsors for their support. They include: Pepsi Co., Save-A-Lot, Central PA Auto Auction, Brigandi, Gleghorn and Haffley, APC International, Ltd., Walmart and Schlesinger Communications.

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