News: MCB Hawaii hosts first National Night Out
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - Marines, sailors and civilians brought their families to Mokapu Mall on Aug. 7 for Marine
Corps Base Hawaii’s first National Night Out.
National Night Out is observed annually worldwide, and was established in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch.
Officials and staff from various organizations including National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, Provost Marshal’s Office and Marine Corps Community Services set up booths to educate the community about their efforts.
Officer Derek Hinkley, Crime Prevention Division chief, PMO,
said National Night Out gives the MCB Hawaii community a chance to see various agencies and get to know what services are available for them.
“I think we as a department definitely want to host this again,” Hinkley said.
“National Night Out is in its 29th year of unifying communities
and building strong, positive community partnerships, and it sends the message that any criminal activity is not welcome on Marine Corps Base Hawaii,” said Lt. Col. Carolyn Bird, commanding officer, Headquarters Battalion. “Organizations that are participating this evening are well rounded and here to talk to you about what they represent. We have law enforcement, emergency services, substance abuse and prevention and other key agencies whose sole purpose is to support the community both on and off this installation.”
Among those participating in the event was Sgt. Jonathan McClure, traffic chief, PMO. McClure showcased police vehicles and equipment at the event.
“A lot of people are curious and don’t always approach a police officer,” McClure said.
Through National Night Out, he said people can feel more comfortable getting to know the police and what they do for the community. But he said he also learned a few things of his own while his son visited the fire department. He learned that all houses should have a fire extinguisher and where to acquire one.
“It’s pretty nice,” said Cpl. Federico Rojas, company clerk, Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, of the event. “I’ve been here six years, and noticed they’re doing more and more to educate about safety.”
Marine Corps Civilian Police Officer Lt. Vernon Kong, of the Special Response Team at PMO, showed equipment to visitors. Kong said National Night Out helps to “foster positive relationship with the community that we serve.” He said it helps to show police officers in a new light, and remind everyone that they are also part of the community.
During the event, many attendees, including Staff Sgt. Freddy Velasquez, operations chief, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, and his son signed a pledge to “be a jerk,” and support the “Be a Jerk” campaign. The campaign encourages adults not to buy or provide alcohol for minors. Velasquez said “it’s good to know there are a lot of programs” that help in the prevention of the incidents that people hear about, such as minors with alcohol.
The children also came to National Night Out, enjoying little trinkets from the organizations and agencies, trying out official equipment, meeting McGruff the Crime Dog, and jumping in bounce houses.
“It’s really fun,” said Makayla Manion, 10, who made a booklet
of her fingerprints so authorities have it on record if she is lost. Not
only did she get to hang out with friends, she also learned about the process of putting her information into the police system, and
visited the police cars on display.
Hinkley said MCB Hawaii is eligible for three special National
Night Out awards and will be submitting a package. If those who
attended would like to help out by providing drawings, photos
and comments about their National Night Out experience to
firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by PMO by Aug. 31. For more information about National Night Out, visit http://www.natw.org/.