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Saturday, May 23, 2015

National Night Out could raise safety awareness

Saturday, April 7, 2007

If all goes according to plan, the Putnam County Safe Schools Committee will host National Night Out on Aug. 7.

On Thursday, Old National Trail representative and committee member Tom Standers approached the board with more information on the event, a topic of discussion for quite some time for the committee.

Standers presented the committee with documents Thursday on National Night Out, an event several cities across the nation take part in.

The event is set up to heighten awareness on crime, drug and violence prevention in addition to generating support for law enforcement agencies.

"It's general safety stuff that is promoted," Standers said. "It's quite an event. It's a great event to bring together people in a community."

Standers told the committee recently that Terre Haute has taken part in the program for two years now. He said law enforcement agencies, along with various vendors and other agencies, set up shop at a park in Terre Haute, giving residents an opportunity to learn more about their specific agencies.

He added free food was given out to those in attendance at the event.

Typically, the event is set up by law enforcement. However, Standers told the committee Thursday he believes the safe school committee could get involved as well.

"With the information we have, I don't see why this is something that we can't organize," he said. "I'm asking for bodies to help organize it."

Several agency officials at the meeting agreed to take part in the event.

"(The Putnam County Emergency Management Agency) will as long as Tom is spear-heading it," EMA Director Kim Hyten said jokingly. "We'll help out any way we can."

"From my standpoint, as a committee, we need to make a committment today," Linda Merkel added. "I really like the idea. I think this is great."

The committee agreed to look further into the issue and possibily set up a night out on Aug. 7.

National Night Out began in 1984 through the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit crime prevention organization. Four-hundred national communities in 23 states took part in the first event in 1984.

The 2006 event, however, involved more than 35 million people in more than 11,000 communities nationwide.

According to information provided by Standers, NATW expects more than 11,000 communities to take part again this year.

In other business, the committee:

  • Heard an update regarding the Juvenile Accountibility Block Grant (JABIG) from Merkel, the new Putnam County Youth Development Commission Executive Director, who recently replaced the retired Pam Turner.

    Merkel told the committee that 24 county youth had participated in the program, which was set up to provide intervention to change behavior of at-risk youth.

  • Heard an update regarding a tactical site survey from Standers, who informed the committee that he planned to organize a group to visit all the school sites and review all safety plans to see if items needed fixed.

    "It's just another pair of eyes," he said. "It's another tool we have."

  • Learned that Noblesville Police Dept. Det. Mike Widner had scheduled two presentations to take place at DePauw University later this month regarding Internet safety concerns. The first is set for 10 a.m.-noon April 25 at the DPU Peeler Art Center. It is for teachers, nurses and various administrators and will cover topics such as myspace.com, child pornogrophy and Internet stalking.

    The second presentation is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. April 26 at the DPU Julian Center. It is more geared for parents and will discuss similar topics.

    The board meets regularly on the first Thursday of each month at the Miller Education Center. Its next meeting is set for 9:30 a.m., May 3.



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