Lake Area celebrates National Night Out Against Crime

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Area took part in National Night Out Against Crime. The event started back in 1984 and has since grown to include more than 15,500 communities across the globe. The goal is to create a partnership between law enforcement and the community.

"At any given time I might at max have 16 to 17 officers on the street, but there is 73,000 citizens. They are our eyes and ears," said Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon.

According to Dixon overall crime last year compared to 2009 was down 15%. Dixon said the number one concern this National Night Out is property crimes. He said burglaries are slightly up but that's expected in the summer months.

"We need the community's help, we need their trust and we need their partnership," said Dixon.

For everything the community can't see, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office relies on high-tech equipment to protect and serve. On hand at Prien Lake Park was their robot they use during standoffs and bomb threats. It's operated from their Mobile Command Center and is equipped with cameras, arms and wheels to move around.

"The cameras on the robot can be outfitted to monitor at the command center where they have bomb technicians who can get an actual look at what devices look like before they just decide if they are going to put in something and detonate it," said Commander Eric Authement. "It comes in handy because you don't have to send in an officer in a potentially dangerous situation."

Over to West-Cal Arena - the City of Sulphur really knows how to get the party started. On hand was a band, vendors and the equipment the officers and emergency responders use everyday.

Savanah Goodner and her brother Rhett toured the ambulance.

"It's very technical you have to know what you're doing with everything. There are a lot of buttons," said Savanah.

"It's really fun, because you can like if you haven't been in an ambulance you can go in there and get your heart rate tested and stuff," said Rhett.

Sulphur Police Chief Mel Estess estimates more than 1,000 people came through Tuesday night. Estess said the support is sending a strong message to the criminal element.

"It's awesome. Hundreds of citizens are coming out and that is key getting citizens to come out with recognition of the crime. And if crime is on their mind - get it out of town," said Estess.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.