Columbus area residents had a chance to see local police in a different light Aug. 7.
National Night Out, held at Fireman’s Park, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the event, which Columbus has participated in for several years. This year’s event featured plenty of activities for children, along with some fun for adults, too. National Night Out is an opportunity for local law enforcement to connect with their neighbors in a setting outside of traffic stops, 911 calls and investigations.
Along with representatives from the Columbus Police Department, Night Out featured the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Columbus Fire Department and EMS. There were several demonstrations from all departments, and sheriff’s deputies also displayed the county’s armored vehicle.
Eric Coughlin was the brave soul who volunteered to receive a shock from an electroshock device from Columbus Police Officer Matt Schultz. After taking the hit, Schultz groaned and crumbled face-first onto a mat. After less than a minute on the mat, several local EMS personnel helped Coughlin up and checked to make sure he was fine. A large crowd gathered to see the drill and Acting Police Chief Dennis Weiner explained how and when police must use the object to subdue an unruly person.
There were plenty of games for children, including a dunk tank featuring Schultz and Columbus Assistant Principal Cori Denk. Many throws missed the target, but a few landed, leaving both Schultz and Denk a little soggy.
Weiner was impressed by the large turnout and thanked the community for supporting Night Out. The popular event will likely return next year, perhaps larger than the Aug. 7 celebration.