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Sirens blared and emergency lights flashed in the Target parking lot Tuesday afternoon, but there was no accident at this scene – only food and fun.

Sammy Armenta is assisted by RFD firefighter Fabian Munoz with a “mini version” of a hose hoist combat challenge. Munoz said on a larger scale, aspiring firefighters are required to hoist up a hose by five stories. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

National Night Out, which originally began in 1984, is a time for communities across the country to further build on the relationship between the community and first responders. The event made a comeback to Roswell for the ninth year.
The local event was organized by Neighborhood Watch and Target.
Richard Lucero, with the Roswell’s Neighborhood Watch, said the purpose of National Night Out is to join Roswell’s heroes with its citizens.

“Because a lot of times, the only time citizens meet our police officers, our firefighters, our medical personnel – is when they’re in trouble,” Lucero said. “In this event, we get to meet our local heroes and just give them a pat on the back, tell them, ‘thank you’ and have a good time doing it.”
Sabrina Sandoval, an asset protection team leader at Roswell’s Target, said she works with the Roswell Police Department hand-and-hand on a weekly basis.
“A lot of them respond here when we have issues at the building, so just having them out here on the parking lot again supporting us is just huge – huge for the community,” Sandoval said. “It’s really important for our community to see that our first responders are the everyday faces that they bump into, whether they’re at the grocery store here at Target, and they’re not always out arresting people, or on scene.
“They’re also out here to make certain that the kids out here in the community feel safe and adults feel safe. It’s a very important event for our community.”
The event involved the cooperation of multiple first responders, including the Roswell police and fire departments, emergency medical responders, the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police.

 

Lucero said the variety of departments involved in National Night Out holds potential to inspire younger civilians.
“It definitely plants the seed,” he said. “Because it’s a lot of fun to interact with our firefighters, our state police brought in the bomb robot and – they can watch it work. The Roswell Police Department brought the Mobile Command Center, so there’s different facets of law enforcement that they’re exposed to.
“(It’s) not just patrol, so they’re going to have a good time, they’re going to have fun and learn what law enforcement is about, and maybe, just maybe, a few years from now, these kids will decide, this is what they want to do when they grow up.”
Sandoval said, at the same time, events like this can help lessen with fears children may have with those in uniform.
“Just engaging with them while they’re in a uniform and seeing (children say,) ‘Hey, they’re great people. They’re one of us,’ Sandoval explained. “It’s really cool to see the kids coming out and enjoying the obstacle courses, and having some hands-on of what they do, our first responders, on a day-to-day basis, and the kids can have a better understanding of why they’re out there.”
Lucero said the event took a great amount of time and planning to get every aspect involved. He said some members of the New Mexico State Police even came in from Albuquerque for the event.
“And the medical helicopter,” he added. “We watched it fly in – the kids loved it. It did take a lot of work, but I didn’t do all of that by myself. Half of the work was completed by our Target staff.”
Sandoval said Target coordinated with the City of Roswell for the event every year.
“We want to thank each and every vendor out there that has supported us in the past and again for tonight’s event,” she said. “Each and every year the event grows and gets larger and larger. It’s just a great community event, and we’re thankful that those who have come and come out and supported us for the hard work that we put into it.”

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Click the link for more information on ADT National Night Out.