Thursday, August 9, 2012

National Night Out Promotes Partnerships Between CCSO, Community

Thousands of residents joined the Collier County Sheriff’s Office for National Night Out celebrations across the county Tuesday evening. Deputies used the event as an opportunity to build closer relationships with community members through one-on-one interaction in a festive environment. Photo by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO. To see more pictures from the 29th annual National Night Out, click here to visit our Facebook fan page.


Citizens by the thousands braved sweltering temperatures and joined the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at safety fests around the county Tuesday evening to celebrate the 29th annual National Night Out.

Deputies in all six CCSO districts took a break from crime fighting to roll out bounce houses, rock walls, pony rides, music, games, hot dogs, pizza, and much, much more. It’s a chance for CCSO, along with fire departments and other public safety organizations and the agency’s community partners, to show off their equipment, conduct demonstrations and provide a safe, fun night out for families that ties together education with entertainment. All of the events were free and open to the public.

“It’s a terrific turnout and a terrific event,” said Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, who visited events in several districts throughout the evening.

Here’s a look at events in each of the CCSO districts:


Carina Allegretta poked her head out of the turret of the CCSO S.W.A.T. vehicle and smiled broadly as her mother Linda stood nearby and snapped a shot of her with her camera phone.

"This is really good for her," Linda Allegretta said, surveying the array of public safety displays and vendors at Lock Up Self Storage, 1025 Piper Blvd. "She's been busy checking everything out and taking it all in. This is a nice event for families and kids, especially right before school starts back up."

Linda Allegretta was quick to admit that she and her daughter feel a special connection to the festivities. Carina's father, Nino Allegretta, is one of CCSO's auxiliary deputies.

Henny Bokrand was driving on Immokalee Road when she spotted the festivities and decided to stop by with her 2-year-old grandson Eddie Holm.

"This is a great thing for children," she said. "I don't want him to be scared of deputies as he grows up."

Troy Reimer was escorting his nephew, 6-year-old Devin Reimer, from display to display. He said he was impressed with what he saw and the way Devin was treated.

"They let him get right up in the truck," Troy Reimer said of the North Naples firefighters. "I think an event like this raises awareness and helps everyone get to know their community a little better."

CCSO Sgt. Mike Oler was manning the agency's Bomb Squad display.

Throughout the event community members listened attentively as he shared information on the Bomb Squad's important role in public safety.

"This is great and people seem to be enjoying it," he said. "You can't ask for more than that."


More than 2,000 people turned out for the safety at the Immokalee Sports Complex, 505 Escambia St. Many of the fest-goers lined up for one of the 735 free backpacks that were distributed courtesy of Lipman’s Produce.

Sherlonda Auguste, 13, and her sister Marthe August, 11, were among the lucky ones to get backpacks.

“We knew a lot of people would come, so we came early,” said Sherlonde Auguste, who will be an eighth-grader at Immokalee Middle School when classes resume Aug. 20. “It was a big line when we got here.”

The backpacks were filled with school supplies, including a binder, folders, crayons, pens, pencils, notebooks, glue sticks, rulers, markers, and erasers. Each back pack also contained a handwritten note from a CCSO community partner wishing students well in the upcoming school year.

Immokalee resident Amanda Harmon was attending her first National Night Out event with her 3-year-old son Travis, who scored a blue backpack and a stuffed toy lion.

“This is helping a lot of people who don’t have anything, so it’s a good thing,” Amanda Harmon said.

Lipman’s Produce spokesman Jaime Weisinger said the company wanted to give away backpacks and school supplies because “education has always been near and dear to us.” He said that when company officials started planning the giveaway “we wondered what we were going to do with all of the leftover backpacks.

“But as we progressed and planned we realized we would get a great turnout,” he said.

The overwhelming turnout underscores a bigger need in the community, Weisinger said.

“When you announce that you are giving away school supplies that many people tend to take for granted and it draws more than 2,000 people, I think it’s pretty clear that the people in this town need all of the help that they can get,” Weisinger said.


Many youngsters at the Golden Gate celebration sported green hair and painted faces. CCSO members and Target team members painted faces during the event, and Hair Cuttery employees were on hand with brightly colored hair spray.

“I brought the kids because it looked like a safe and fun event, but the hair and face painting was great, too,” said resident Raquel Carrillo.

Local radio station B103.9 kept the dance tunes playing throughout the event. CCSO’s DARE car made an appearance at the event and was immediately surrounded by kids of all ages. Golden Gate resident Andy Etienne, 3 couldn’t stop staring at the car.

“It’s so cool,” Etienne exclaimed.

Long lines at the rock climbing wall and the pony rides didn’t dampen the mood at all, with many enjoying snow cones, hot dogs and lemonade as they waited. Deputies estimated that more than 1,200 people came out to enjoy the festivities and fight back against crime in their community.


The event at East Naples Community Park, 3500 Thomasson Drive, offered a motorcycle demonstration by CCSO’s Traffic Unit and a raffle featuring bicycles and gift certificates from area businesses as prizes.

Bike helmets and reflectors were handed out to all of the children at the event. Each youngster was properly fitted for their new helmet.

Angie Davis, an East Naples Kiwanis board member and East Naples fire commissioner, served up hot dogs, hamburgers and chips. Kiwanis, which donated the hot dogs and chips, has been participating in National Night Out for four years.

Davis said Kiwanis participates in the event because it likes to do whatever is possible to help kids out in local community.

“National Night Out is something the group looks forward to because it is one of the bigger events of the year,’’ she said.

Taylor Trew, the 2012-13 Swamp Buggy Queen, helped deputies properly fit youngsters with free bike helmets.

Trew, 18, stopped by the Wooten Animal Sanctuary exhibit where she gave a quick kiss to an alligator that was part of the exhibit.

This was her first time attending National Night Out festivities. She said she felt the event did a good job bridging the gap between law enforcement and community.

“It’s a good thing getting everyone together” Trew said as she watched groups of people dancing while a DJ played music. “It feels homey.”


Golden Gate Estates residents turned out in record numbers for the event at the Florida Forestry Service Ranger Station at the southeast corner of Randall Boulevard and Immokalee Road.

Resident Barbara Burns said she and her husband Bob brought their children Elizabeth, 13, and Robert, 12, to National Night Out for the ATV safety presentation offered.

“We recently bought an ATV for the kids and want them to know how to be safe but have fun,” said Barbara.

Her husband was also quick to take the opportunity to climb the Forestry tower and look out over Golden Gate Estates. The tower was a popular favorite among those who attended the celebration, but Estates resident Chloe Aymat, 5 said her favorites were the green CCSO Frisbees and the cookies.


Residents gathered under a tent in Copeland, where they nibbled on hot dogs and homemade baked goods while getting to know the deputies who serve their community.

CCSO’s Crime Prevention Section set up lemonade stands at Chokoloskee Church of God and Everglades City Hall, where residents could stop by for a cold cup of lemonade and cookies, while getting safety information from deputies.
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk greets a young resident at the CCSO safety fest at Lock Up Self Storage, 1025 Piper Blvd. The event featured a bounce house for kids as well as demonstrations by the CCSO Bomb Squad, K-9 Unit and SWAT. Photo by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO

Sgt. David Jolicouer hands a CCSO Frisbee to Chloe Aymat, 5, during the safety fest in Golden Gate Estates at the Florida Forestry Service Ranger Station. The event also featured food and refreshments as well as safety information on topics ranging from indoor marijuana grow houses and ATVs. Photo by Krista Williamson/CCSO