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National Night out lets citizens get friendly with their police
MARYSVILLE Locals got to know their guardians during the annual National Night Out Aug 7, a get together that brings the cops to the community.
Comeford Park was turned into a big cop shop as the Marysville Police Department showed out in force, but just to show off.
There was the new SWAT van, a Snohomish County Search and Rescue communications van, and many other aspects of police work most citizens might not be aware of.
Organizers said the turnout for the Aug. 7 event was the largest in years and that was a good sign for new police chief Rick Smith, who believes its reassuring for his officers to see the townsfolk.
Its really a show of support for the police, Smith said. We want to be out with our community. This is outstanding.
For 16-year veteran Stacey Dreyer the night was an opportunity to dispel some myths and make some friends.
Dreyer was there with his partner Radar, and he was explaining to the throngs of people why many departments have stuck with German shepherds after trying breeds like Rottweilers because they are more controllable. Handlers have also found that male dogs work better at tracking and apprehending suspects because the female dogs are so protective of their human partners they tend to hold back and return to the officer while a male will be more aggressive in the pursuit.
While he explained the difference between tracking dogs and narcotics dogs, Dreyer said some departments or handlers will use just about any breed with a good scent tracking, but the shepherds and Black Labradors seem to be the breeds used the most. He emphasized that a K-9 unit only gets to sink some teeth into a suspect in three to five percent of pursuits. According to Dreyer the dogs dont track to bite someone, they track for the love of the pursuit.
When a perp is hurt from a dog bite, its usually because they are twisting and squirming and trying to get away. That causes tearing of tissue, and not the typewriting injuries that would result from repeated bites, since the canines are trained only to grab and hold the suspect.
Its nice to get it out that they are not these flesh-tearing monsters, Dreyer said. I like people to see that.
He has two kids at home and Radar rolls on the floor and plays with them just like any other family pet would.
The Marysville K-9 unit started in 2000 and now has three dogs on staff, and each had 600 hours of initial training to be certified, and they get another 40 hours of continuous training each week, according to Dreyer. The state of Washington only requires a police dog to be certified once, at the beginning of their career, but his department certifies the critters every year, Dreyer said, adding that it looks good to have that additional paper work in court.
During a demonstration of the dogs capabilities Dreyer had officer Mike Buell wear a sleeve and play the part of a perp. A small white remote control is Dreyers favorite tool on his belt, as it allows him to release Radar from his police car up to a mile away with just a click of a button. Most of the time someone tangling with an officer doesnt know whats coming until the canine is upon them.
Other hits at the event were the firefighters repelling from the Marysville water tower during a simulated high-level rescue and the departments new SWAT van, created from a donated armored car.
Veteran officer Larry Buell raised eyebrows as he explained the capabilities and limitations of the departments Tazer stun guns and how the technology has developed over the years. He used visiting seven-year-old Patrick Seale of Manitoba, Canada, to show the crowd just where an officer would try to hit a suspect to minimize the damage caused by the two electrodes that fly from the unit into a target. In general officers try to avoid using the weapons on the elderly and pregnant women, Buell said. He demonstrated the units on a cardboard target.
It was pretty cool how fast they travel, Seale said.
For new police chief Rick Smith, it felt good to see the huge turnout, as people poured over tables filled with the entry team gear, sat on a police motorcycle and their picture taken or just shook hands and got to know their local cops.
Its really a show of support for the police, Smith said, noting how in his previous department in Vancouver, the night was initiated and organized by community members.
Arlingtons Ashley Parra was in Hog Heaven as she posed for a picture on a Marysville Police Department Harley-Davidson motorcycle during the National Night Out event at Comeford Park in downtown Marysville. Her father Antonio said the event was a good chance for folks to meet and mingle with their protectors.
Its wonderful; Its important that they get the word out, he said, nodding toward his two-year-old. Maybe shell be a cop.
Representatives from the Tulalip Tribes police, Snohomish Countys emergency management teams and the Marysville Fire District were also on hand, and the Marysville Kiwanis were raising money selling soda pop, chips and the grilled hot dogs, a huge step up from the boiled wieners of past years.