Neighborhood Safety

August 1  –  right around the corner – will be the fourth consecutive year that the safety organizations in Paso will stage the NNO event in City Park. It’ll be roughly where the BBQs are located and you’ll easily see the police and fire vehicles on the street. It lasts a couple hours and begins at 6 p.m., after the Farmers’ Market closes – you might be there anyway. Also, NNO is free and there are perks for attending!

Paso Roble PD-- K-9 – Jeff DePetro with Ir 2014

Paso Robles Police Department K-9 Officers Jeff DePetro and ‘Ir’ pose for the camera.

So, what is NNO? It stands for National Night Out and is an awareness program held all across the USA in 16,000 communities. This is a superb chance to come out with the whole family and meet members of the Police and Fire Departments. They’ll have equipment there to look at, and you can ask all the questions you need answers to. A San Luis Ambulance will be there too, along with members of Citizens’ Volunteer Program.

Here in our pueblo, Mary Sponhaltz, the right hand to Chief Robert Burton, has once again orchestrated the late-afternoon event. Last year, almost 300 people attended. This nation-wide program is heavily geared toward neighborhoods and safety issues they face. The likelihood of crimes being committed in any given city are much higher in neighborhoods. It has been statistically proven that when people in a neighborhood are bonded by safety measures with concern and awareness for one another, those neighborhoods are safer. Word gets around to “stay away from ‘such and such’ an area because they’re always on watch!”

Knowledge is power and when a neighborhood knows what’s going on, it’s a good thing. So, what kinds of questions might you like to ask? Here are a couple thoughts.

  1. How safe is Paso compared to other cities our size?
  2. Do we have a high, medium or low crime rate?
  3. What kinds of things should I report?
  4. How do I use 9-1-1 to report something? – and, is that the best # to use?
  5. Will a police person come to our home for a neighborhood meet ‘n’ greet
  6. How long does it take for the Fire Department to respond?
  7. Does Paso have a lot of fires?
  8. Talk about gangs and drugs. How bad is it in Paso?
  9. How do I become a police or fire person or apply any other person in one of the agencies?
Paso Library--Heroes--Firetruck

A Paso Robles City Fire Department stops for a photo op.

You probably have a long list yourself that you’d like to discuss with the men and women who have sworn to protect us. Our safety team is made up of solid men and women. They live in the community and neighborhoods like most of us. When we have to make that 9-1-1 call, it is comforting to know the responders are truly here for us.

Earlier, I mentioned perks. For starters, there are free burgers and dogs with all the fixin’s including sodas and water. Pastor Tim Mensing from The Bridge Church and some of the congregation will be doin’ the grillin’. Paso has two K-9 dogs, and at least one will be doing demonstrations; these was really popular last year. There’ll also be Fire Department demos, as well as fingerprinting for the children and DUI goggles to try out. These are really neat; when you put them on they mess up your vision a bit but if you are sober, you’ll still be able to walk a pattern or ride a bike. But, if you’re messed up, guess what!

Here is the best suggestion this writer can offer up for you. Bring your questions and come by to meet the safety teams in Paso. They are open, friendly and fiercely dedicated to Paso’s citizens – just as you’d hope for. Learn how to make your neighborhood more safe and have a great burger or dog while you’re doing it. Meet, greet, ask! You’ll be glad you did.