Night Out offers hot dogs, pizza and lots of police sirens

Photo by Chris Barber Yukon the Chester County Sheriff's Office canine officer sits with his handler and other deputies during the National Nigh t Out Ceremony in Kennett Square on Tuesday.

KENNETT SQUARE -- There were plenty of hotdogs and pizza slices at the National Night Out event on East Linden Street on Tuesday, but that wasn’t the main attraction.

Scores of neighborhood kids showed up to climb into the fire truck and sound the police car sirens. In fact, those vehicles appeared to be the main attraction of the evening.

For about an hour the warm, humid air was filled with the loud whaling of the police cars with occasion melodic notes of the Mr. Softee ice cream truck echoing in the background.

About 100 people from the neighborhood and beyond sat for a brief ceremony recognizing the role of law enforcement in America. Afterward, they buddied up with police and enjoyed the ambiance of the evening.

The National Night Out event was celebrated throughout the United States, and this was the second year that the Historic East Linden Project sponsored such an evening in Kennett Square.

That group works to revitalize what has been an underserved and somewhat rundown neighborhood just off the main street in town.

Guests included Dan Maffei and Leon Spencer of Kennett Square Borough Council, police from Kennett, Kennett Square and New Garden, representatives of the Chester County Sheriffs Office (plus canine Yukon) and U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, R-16, of East Marlborough Township.

Pitts, as the main speaker, praised the participants who planned the evening. “National Night Out is a celebration of the community relationship with police all over the neighborhood. The partnership has to stay focused on crime prevention,” he said.

He added that the night out represents the determination of residents to make the U.S. a safe country. Citizens of the United Sates should be grateful for their police forces, he said, because in some nations the police are corrupt and do not protect.

Maffei, who brought two little dogs of his own to the ceremony, said since he has been on council he has learned to view the police as real people doing a job.

As he spoke, Sheriff’s Department canine Yukon sat beside his handler, tense and excited, ready to pounce should Maffei’s dogs try anything untoward.

A passel of children from the neighborhood read paragraphs they had written about their visit with the local officers.

Marilla Agular, 9, spoke in Spanish about meeting she had on a field trip with Kennett Square Police Cpl. Richard Bell. She said she was pleased to meet him but didn’t think she could shoot deer with bow and arrow and then eat them as Bell told them he did.

About 15 children read their impressions of the police.

Kennett Square Police Chief Ed Zunino said he was pleased with the turnout as well as the increased organization that was exhibited this year over last year.