Sunday, July 30, 2000

Festival shows off services

Police, firefighters on hand for Forest Park Night Out

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

        FOREST PARK — Sgt. Phil Cannon can remember when the National Night Out was a neighborhood party.

        “It was an old block watch thing,” recalled Sgt. Cannon, who is in his 21st year with the Forest Park Police Department. “Everybody would go outside and have their lights on. It was an awareness kind of thing. They were saying, "We're watching.'”

        Now, at least in Forest Park, National Night Out has evolved into an emergency services festival.

        The city's police and fire divisions, along with those from neighboring communities, will gather at Winton Woods High School on Tuesday to show what they can do, and how they get it done.

        “This started out as just as a small gathering,” said Sgt. Cannon, who is organizing the event for the second year in a row. “We were the only ones doing it for a while around this area.”

        Sgt. Cannon suspects that many Forest Park residents don't realize that their city is the third-largest in Hamilton County, right behind Cincinnati and Norwood, and they may not know about the sophisticated equipment the city's emergency services departments have to offer.

        “That's what this is about, too,” he said. “Normally, citizens can't interact with all of our public-service people. Everything we use as police and in the fire profession will be here.”

        Forest Park invites neigh boring communities to participate, and more than 60 displays will feature federal, state and local police and fire safety personnel and equipment.

        The city fire department will stage an emergency extraction at 7 p.m., and K-9 units from the city, Springfield Township, Blue Ash and Cincinnati will demonstrate their talents at 8:40 p.m.

        Entertainment includes a magic show, a gymnastics exhibition and a group of Children's Hospital nurses who moonlight as clowns. The festivities are scheduled to conclude with a Rozzi Fireworks show at 10 p.m.

        Kroger, which has a branch across from the high school at the intersection of Kemper and Winton roads, donated the food and beverages, which will be available at no cost, Sgt. Cannon said. Donations by other Forest Park businesses help pay the cost of the booths and other expenses, he said.


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