By Frank Lewis
Sometimes, when you live in some environments, the only exposure children, and even the adults, get to law enforcement is watching them make arrests to protect the families in that environment. At the same time, law enforcement officers never get to know the residents they are protecting.
But Tuesday night during the National Night Out, Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority had one thing in mind — to bring these two factions together for a night of fun and information.
“I’m running from one site to the next,” PMHA Executive Director Peggy Rice said. “We have things going on at all seven sites. We have Wayne Hills, Farley Square, Miller Manor, Lett Terrace. Those are our family sites. And we have something going on at each of our high rise buildings. We have Hudson House and Alexandria House here in Portsmouth and we have Cliffside House in New Boston.”
Rice said one of the things that makes the Night Out special is the participation by the residents when it comes to planning for the event.
“We have some of the inflatables at the family sights. We have some games,” Rice said. “We have officers from the (Scioto County) Sheriff’s Office and the (Portsmouth) Police Department who are going to come out and work with our kids and do some fingerprinting. And as long as we don’t have anything as far as fires go, we have some firefighters coming out.”
Rice said hot dogs, music, both live and with a Deejay, make the evening enjoyable for everyone and creates an atmosphere in which people can have fun and receive educational information as well.
“Our Hudson House has hamburgers and hot dogs and they have a National Night Out cake,” Rice said. “The folks at Alexandria House usually get out cornhole games. There’s a dunk tank at Miller Manor and I’m pretty certain we will get some of our maintenance men into that. We are just intending to have a good time all night. And the big thing is having the officers there interacting with the kids and the adults.”
Rice said the new Director of Security Paul Blaine plans to have more interaction with law enforcement and do some on-sight training for safety.
“He’s kind of hoping this will be a kick-off for him getting the officers involved with residents,” Rice said. “That’s what we’re pushing for.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 1928, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.