Police-officer-in-training Hayden Hunziker, 3, works a fire hose with Carroll’s assistant fire chief, Bob Shields, during National Night Out at Graham Park Tuesday.
Police-officer-in-training Hayden Hunziker, 3, works a fire hose with Carroll’s assistant fire chief, Bob Shields, during National Night Out at Graham Park Tuesday.

August 10, 2018

As a small boy in a police uniform crouched with Carroll’s assistant fire chief to water a tree with a fire hose, a little girl across the way crowed with delight as the ball she’d tossed hit its mark and sent a sheriff’s deputy plunging into the icy water of a dunk tank.

Crowd of people streamed through Graham Park Tuesday evening for Carroll’s first time taking part in the “National Night Out” event, which has been held throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and on military bases around the world, for 35 years and seeks to bring law-enforcement officers and the communities they police closer together.

The event’s intent is fourfold: To promote crime and drug prevention awareness; to promote local anti-crime efforts; to strengthen relationships between police officers and residents; and to announce to criminals that residents are “organized and fighting back,” according to information from the Carroll Police Department.

The evening offered a variety of activities.

Friends Carter Smith, 12, and Maddox White, 11, tossed hoops as Carroll Police Detective Alex Klever kept a tally of how many they made.

Scores of kids — including Olivia and Emma Lawson, twins who turned 4 that day, and their big brother Caden Lawson, 6, siblings Kaleb Bruning, 5, and Zoe Bruning, 9, and Addyson Henry, 2 — were fingerprinted by Carroll Police Officers Jason Kirsch and Jeff Nichols.

Nichols and Andrew Smaldone, a deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, both took shifts at a dunk tank as kids, including 4-year-old Alexandra Floyd, lined up to throw yellow softballs at a target that, if hit, would send the officers plunging into a tub of water that several times was reinforced with bags of ice as the officers groaned.

“I’m really getting hammered right now,” Smaldone joked after the audience cheered for a third subsequent dunk. He quickly regrouped and offered a pageant wave and grin before the next ball hit its mark.

Over by a Carroll Fire Department truck, 6-year-old Caden Cockrum joined firefighters in the truck’s ladder to see how it worked. Nearby, 2-year-old Noah Pietig and 3-year-old Hayden Hunziker — the latter decked out in a miniature police uniform — crouched with Bob Shields, Carroll’s assistant fire chief, to water a thirsty tree with a fire hose.

Visitors crowded around a Carroll County ambulance as well, checking out a stretcher, peeking inside the vehicle and collecting stickers.

Participants also visited informational booths, worked their way through a caution-tape maze, played Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe, had their faces painted and ate a meal offered by the Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association with food donated by area businesses.

Members of the Carroll Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll Fire Department and Carroll County Ambulance Service attended the event and interacted with Carroll-area residents.

I think it’s a great event for emergency responders in the area to meet families in the area and show them they can come to us if they need,” Carroll Police Officer Tony Amdor said.