Fort Hood’s 18th annual National Night Out, Tuesday, at Sadowski Parade Field, hosted by Fort Hood Family Housing, partnered with Fort Hood Director of Emergency Services.
Approximately 3,500 people attended this year’s police and first responders community outreach event. The event provided free carnival rides, games, beverages, music and food for purchase. Police cars, firetrucks, ambulances and tactical vehicles were all on display for families and children.
Children with red plastic firefighter hats took turns sitting inside firetrucks, while their parents took photos of them.
Sgt. Karla Paez, noncommissioned officer in charge, 411th Military Police Company, said 14 of her Soldiers attended the event to showcase to children that they are the “good guys”. A Soldier dressed as a bandit, ran around the event letting MPs “arrest” him.
“It’s to interact with the kids, so they feel safe,” Paez said.
Paez shared that the event’s purpose is to bring cohesion between law enforcement, emergency services and the Fort Hood community.
Spc. Logan Carter, 89th Military Police Brigade, said that the event adds a “human face” to law enforcement personnel.
“We’re not here to make your day terrible,” Carter said. “We want to help and we want to make sure that people feel safe being on Fort Hood.”
Lt. Col Michael Capps, 720th MP Battalion commander, said his entire family feels a lot safer on post, than off post.
“Everyone needs to know that the police are the good guys. They are the heroes that have to be ready to respond to all kinds of situations,” he said.
Capps shared why it’s important for law enforcement and emergency services to interact with the community.
“It’s to build and maintain the relationships with our community partners. It is our responsibility to maintain a safe a secure environment on Fort Hood,” Capps said. “We are here to put a human face to the personnel that preform that mission, so they get to know us outside of us simply executing our duties.”
The event also had support from off-post organizations.
“I like that they have been able to bring in so many community partners to a big event to remind the community that we are all in this together,” Capps said.
National Night Out empowers residents to take back control of their neighborhood.
“Different neighborhoods will take back the night, make sure that their neighborhood is owned by the residents, that shenanigans don’t occur in their neighborhood and that they can operate safely outside,” Capps said. “This one says to the entire Fort Hood community that we are one big family, one big team and it is big. It is Texas size.”