Support for Night Out grows

DUNCANSVILLE – With a cavalcade of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks, the 30th Night Out Against Crime kicked off in Duncansville with a

chorus of sirens and whistles.

“It’s nice to see the crowds,” Duncansville Police Chief James Ott said on Tuesday night as families strolled among the tables and displays outside the Antique Depot in Duncansville, which hosts the annual event as part of the national Night Out Against Crime.

Ott said it’s a great way for police, firefighters and other first responders to mingle with people in the community.

“We don’t want drugs and crime in our neighborhoods,” Ott said of the message of the night, adding that every year support from the community for the event grows. “It’s amazing,” he said.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Joshua Jackson, 33, of Duncansville, who was there with his wife, Sarah, and their 2-year-old daughter, Kaelyn. “It’s nice they have all these services they have available here and good to see people out to support the community. It’s good to see the cops out and see that they’re not bad guys.”

Twin 8-year-old brothers Jesse and Jase Spiridigliozzi of Roaring Spring were at their first Night Out, and were both busy with a couple of plastic whistles supplied by the Pennsylvania Game Commission booth – whistles their mother, Jamie Spiridigliozzi, repeatedly asked that they take a break from blowing.

“It’s nice to see the people come out and support the police and fire.They do a lot,” said Jamie Spiridigliozzi, 38. Along with Spiridigliozzi and her boys were friends Rachel Sleasman, 36, of Duncansville and Ashley Weaver, 30, of Roaring Spring.

“It’s nice to see the town cops out here,” said Weaver.

Law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency workers from across the county, joined by an array of organizations, including Blair County Children, Youth & Families and the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, handed out gifts and talked with folks.

The Blair County Sheriff’s Department was even on hand to give a demonstration with Deputy R.J. Peo and the department’s bomb-sniffing dog, Lily.

Altoona Sgt. Brian Freiwald joked around as he handed out stick-on badges to passing kids. Freiwald said it’s a great chance to talk with kids in a positive setting and show them police officers are people, too.

“Most of the time, children only come in contact with police when there’s something bad that’s happened,” Freiwald said. “This gives us a chance to interact on a more personal level.”

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.