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Marysville turns out against crime
MARYSVILLE — Marysville Police Lt. Jeff Goldman found himself suiting up some aspiring officers who were much younger than even the freshest recruits out of the academy.
“When I’m not wearing it, I weigh about 195 pounds,” Goldman said, as he slid a bulletproof vest onto Matthew Bailey, helping the 7-year-old get his head and arms through the right holes. “When I put it on, my weight goes up to about 223 pounds.”
“It was heavy,” said Matthew, who was joined by brother Brendan, sister Olivia and mom Carrol Bailey at the National Night Out Against Crime in Comeford Park on Aug. 2. Brendan enjoyed checking out the police patrol cars, while Olivia was curious about the Marysville Police armored tactical vehicle.
Like Carrol Bailey, fellow Marysville mom Amanda Hoffer enjoyed the afternoon’s warm, sunny weather which helped make an initially intimidating experience more pleasant for Hoffer’s 5-year-old daughter Natalie.
“Natalie was afraid of the police before so we came here so she’d know they’re okay,” said Amanda Hoffer, who just moved to Marysville a couple of months ago, as Marysville Police Sgt. James Strickland gave Natalie her first fingerprinting. “She thinks they’re nice now. I like the small-town feel of events like this.”
The Hoffer and Bailey families were far from alone that night, as Comeford Park was packed with enough parents and kids to impress Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith.
“Seeing this level of turnout is phenomenal,” Smith said. “The goal of this event is to connect law enforcement and the local community, because we’re all in this together.”
Just as Marysville Police brought their K-9 and their vehicles, Tulalip Tribal Police arrived in their mobile command center, from which their officers and other personnel handed out candy and pamphlets.
Tulalip Tribal Police Chief Jay Goss agreed with Smith that the summer months see their respective departments getting more calls for alcohol-related incidents.
Smith urged those who choose to drink to rely on a designated driver or a taxi ride rather than risk driving while impaired, while Goss advised motorists against leaving valuables in their vehicles, especially if they’re visible or unsecured, warning that this could create crimes of opportunity.
As much as he and his fellow officers dispensed tips, Goss also appreciated simply being able to soak in the atmosphere of the event.
“It’s great any time you can meet and greet the public outside of a law enforcement action,” Goss said. “You can have conversations on more of a friend-to-friend level. We do regular gatherings like this in Tribal housing areas so that the community can come together on a smaller scale.”
Marysville Fire District personnel dispensed safety tips along with the red plastic child-sized firefighter’s hats that they gave to kids. Given the recent drownings in the Stillaguamish River, Marysville Fire Inspector Don McGhee made sure community members knew about the fire district’s life jacket program.
“We receive donations of life jackets which we distribute to local lakes,” McGhee said. “Lake Goodwin has a loaner program where they’ll fit you for a life jacket if you swing by their station, and we keep a cabinet stocked with life jackets for Twin Lakes.”
McGhee went on to echo Smith’s calls for safer summer driving by reminding motorists to buckle up their kids and to watch out for younger drivers, since more of them are on the road when school is out.
Bonnie Ramsey, unit director for the Marysville Boys & Girls Club, aims to look after local kids after the summer is done, by promoting her Club’s “Super-School” before- and after-school program for students, which is set to start with the 2011-12 school year.
“We have our summer camp going on right now, but there’s still a huge need out there for these kids,” said Ramsey, who noted the number of local organizations engaging children in summer reading challenges, including the Boys & Girls Club. “It’s good that so many groups are picking up that slack, with all the school budget cuts going on. These resources need to be available for our kids.”