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Aulander hosts ‘Night Out’

AULANDER – The adults sought shade in order to beat the sweltering heat.

Meanwhile, the children, apparently oblivious to the triple-digit temperature, sought out games to play.

Both age groups found what they were looking for here Tuesday evening.

Despite sauna-like weather conditions, the show went on in Aulander as this Bertie County town took part in the “National Night Out” celebration.

For the second straight year, Aulander officials put together a grand event, one aimed at promoting police/community partnerships, crime, drug and violence prevention, safety and neighborhood unity.

“Even with the heat, the people still came,” said Aulander Police Chief Jimmy Barmer in reference to a crowd estimated at 1,500. “Other than the heat and the sweat, there were no hitches and no problems. This was a great event. If not but for one night, it brought out the best in the Aulander community.”

Barmer was appreciative of the efforts of a small army of volunteers that helped to make the event a huge success.

“The citizens of the Town of Aulander are fortunate to have so many fine people working in their best interests,” Barmer noted. “Members of our Town Council, the Mayor, town employees and their spouses were out here working the event. They came early and stayed late.”

Barmer thanked everyone for supporting the event, including the financial backing of businesses and sponsors, some from as far away as Chesapeake, Va.

“We thank them from the bottom of our hearts,” Barmer said.

Positioned around the event site was an array of activities, including several law enforcement/crime prevention displays. Taking part in the event were representatives of the

Bertie Sheriff’s Office, Aulander Police Department, Aulander Fire Department, Aulander Rescue Squad, North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina Wildlife Commission, Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, Bertie/Hertford/Northampton Community Corrections and the police departments of Lewiston-Woodville, Windsor, Ahoskie, Murfreesboro and Winton.

Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake of the Bertie Sheriff’s Narcotics Division set-up a drug display. Bertie deputies Jackie Cherry and Cheryl Geiger attracted a large audience with their gang awareness display. Wayne Smith, a retired Newport News, Va. police officer, volunteered his services to fingerprint local children as law enforcement agencies throughout the nation embark upon a battle to protect youngsters from abduction.

Ed Pittman provided the DJ services.

Robin Bland, “CJ”, Nancy Joyner, The Singing Morticians (aka the Wilder Brothers), Darlene Johnson and the All for Christ gospel group kept the crowd thoroughly entertained throughout the event.

However, the main focus of Aulander’s “Night Out” centered on promoting community/law enforcement partnerships.

“Local law enforcement officers, especially those here in our small towns, cannot fight crime all by themselves,” District 6B Attorney Valerie Asbell said. “They need the help of the community. As members of the Aulander community, I urge you to take advantage of what you see and hear tonight. Use that information to help make your town a safer place to live and raise a family.”

Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins echoed Asbell’s remarks.

“Getting neighbors involved in being good neighbors is what it’s all about,” Atkins noted. “Parents calling other parents and letting them know what’s going on within their neighborhood will play a huge role in cutting down on crime-related activities. I urge you to get involved in fighting crime.”

The lines were long at the food stand where the Town of Aulander provided free hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn and sno-cones.

Meanwhile, members of the Aulander Fire Department kept the children thoroughly entertained with games such as the water bucket race, “Big Foot” walk, douse the candle with water pistols and a 14-foot slide.

Barmer climbed into the dunking booth, daring all to knock him off his perch. To the delight of many, including the Aulander Police Chief who got a chance to cool off on a hot afternoon, Barmer repeatedly was dumped in the water.

“We all had a lot of fun,” Barmer concluded. “Having a population of about 800 shows you the support we had from the surrounding communities. All are welcomed here in Aulander and come back and visit us when you can.”

National Night Out, now in its 23rd year, is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and participating municipalities. Over 10,000 communities from all 50 states as well as U.S. territories and military bases now take part in this annual event. All totaled, over 34 million people were expected to participate in America’s Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 1.

Nationally, support comes from the Target Corporation and the United States Department of Justice.