More than 500 Anaheim residents joined police officers and other city officials Tuesday night at Stoddard Park for the 26th annual “National Night Out” crime and drug prevention event.
“We want to work with you to continue to make Anaheim a safe place to live and to work,” Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter told participants.
The evening featured safety tips, tours of police equipment – including the “Anaheim Angel” police helicopter – and a demonstration by Cisko, one of the department’s six German Shepherds.
After the demonstration, officer R.J. Young fielded questions from children curious about the department’s canine program.
Among the questions:
How long does it take to train a police dog? Five to seven weeks.
Do officers get to play with the dogs after work? Yes, police dogs live with their partners and their partners’ families.
Does every police officer get a dog? No, only six lucky officers are partnered with police dogs.
Department officials also awarded plaques to community members who have demonstrated leadership in crime prevention.
Electrician Gerald Ball and his wife, Tammi, were among the honorees. About 10 years ago, when they moved into the Friendly Village neighborhood in East Anaheim, they started a Neighborhood Watch program to address drug and crime issues.
Today, crime is down significantly in Friendly Village. Crime prevention specialist Arleen Harris credited the Balls for working with police to solve the problems.
“We were meeting all the time, now it’s just once a month,” said Ball of his neighbors. “The police department has been a great partner.”