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'National Night Out' about fighting crime

Police reach out to local residents

Posted: August 5, 2008 9:17 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Ana Bonder, 5, pets Amber the quarterhorse, a member of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Posse, at the National Night Out at the community center in Newhall on Tuesday.

 

As the late afternoon sunlight fell over the valley and commuters shuffled off the Metrolink train Tuesday, local peace officers and first responders set up camp in the parking lot of the Newhall Community Center.

But there was no emergency. As part of National Night Out, sheriff's deputies, firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers were on the scene to connect with the community and provide information.

In past years the event has been held at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, but it made sense to move out into the community, said Deputy Laurie Baylis, who organized the event with sheriff's Sgt. Gregg Lewison.

"We wanted to be accessible (to the community)," she said. "This is our way of getting them comfortable."

Children and adults milled around the parking lot, checking out information booths from the Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, CHP, Target, a fingerprinting service and information about neighborhood watch programs.

Partly due do cultural stigmas, residents in Newhall can still be a bit hesitant to interact with those in law enforcement, Baylis and other deputies interviewed said.

"They're afraid of retaliation," she said. "They don't have to be afraid to live in their own neighborhood."

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