Latrobe Night Out opens eyes to local policing methods, impaired driving hazards | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Latrobe Night Out opens eyes to local policing methods, impaired driving hazards

Jeff Himler
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kolton Parris, 8, of Hempfield Township, middle, puts on firefighter pants while Megan Scherff, 8, of North Huntingdon, gets helps with a jacket from volunteer firefighter Skip Cook with the Fairmont Hahntown Volunteer Fire Department as kids try on firefighter outfits during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
North Huntingdon Police Department K-9 Zargo, 3, conducts a demo with Sgt. Kari Bauer for crowds during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Siblings Meredith Langlais, 9, top, Milo, 3, middle, and Colby Langlais, 7, left, get help from their mom on exiting the ladder truck from Larimer Volunteer Fire Department during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Alan Bedzik, of North Irwin, carries his one year-old daughter, Athena Bedzik, during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Emmett Slie, 5, gets his firefighter jacket adjusted by his mom, Brenda Slie, of North Huntingdon, during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kids try on turnout gear from Larimer Volunteer Fire Department during National Night Out on Tuesday night, Aug. 6, 2019 at the Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin.
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Seth Spillar, 9, of Unity tries to pedal between traffic cones while wearing Fatal Vision goggles that simulate impaired driving as Latrobe Police Sgt. Bob Rummell looks on Tuesday at the police department’s annual National Night Out community event at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Handler Officer Robert Derk of the Latrobe Police Department shows how K-9 Officer Zeus can apprehend a "suspect," in this case, Ryan Gradler of Latrobe, a Pennsylvania Army National Guard specialist based in Johnstown. Gradler donned a "bite suit" for the demonstration Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at the police department’s annual National Night Out community event at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Latrobe officers Detective Mike Wigand, left, dressed as Mr. Incredible, and Sgt. Joe Angus, wearing a Captain America costume, pose for a photo with Latrobe cousins Britney Stape, 5, second left, and Mylynn Stumpf, 10, on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at the police department’s annual National Night Out community event at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Isabelle Swick, 5, of Derry, pets Luna, a mixed-breed dog rescued by Irwin-based All But Furgotten Humane Rescue at the organization’s booth on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at the Latrobe Police Department’s annual National Night Out community event at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.

Latrobe-area residents took a ride on a Fatal Vision roadster and saw how a K-9 officer takes a bite out of crime Tuesday evening at a National Night Out outreach event organized by the city’s police department.

Firefighting equipment also was on display, as well as Army vehicles and a Blackhawk helicopter, during the event at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium.

Seth Spillar, 9, of Unity was among young visitors who climbed aboard the four-wheeled, pedal-powered roadster and tried to steer between curved lines of cones while wearing distorted Fatal Vision goggles that simulate the effects of having a blood alcohol content of 0.25% or more.

“It’s hard,” he said, after errantly taking a slight turn to the left.

“Everyone is hitting the cones on the left,” said Sgt. Bob Rummell of the Latrobe Police Department. “A couple people went completely off the course.”

The department purchased the eye-opening roadster and three pairs of goggles with a $1,900 grant from the Westmoreland County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

“I particularly like to see the young crowd,” Latrobe police Chief John Sleasman said. “We have a lot of kids in the age range from 8 to 16 come out. We want to catch them at that age, before they start to get in trouble and we have to deal with them in another way.”

The annual Night Out, he said, is an “an opportunity to get together with the community. … There’s a lot of awareness we can bring of what we’re doing on the street.”

Tessie Williams of Derry came to the Latrobe event with her daughter, Isabelle, 5, and older son, Colby. “This event is cute for the young kids, and there are different things for the teenagers to experience, too,” she said.

Two Latrobe police officers, Sgt. Joe Angus and Detective Mike Wigand, attracted attention from both young and old attendees when they decided to dress as Captain American and Mr. Incredible, respectively. “They’re costumes from Halloween,” Angus said, noting, “They told us to dress in uniform.”

Latrobe Officer Robert Derk demonstrated how his K-9 partner, Zeus, is able to track contraband and other items. Zeus also conducted a mock apprehension of a “suspect” — Pennsylvania National Guard Specialist Ryan Gradler of Latrobe, who volunteered to don a protective “bite suit” for the exercise.

Also participating were the Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office, the County Public Safety Command Center, the County Animal Response Team, Mutual Aid Ambulance, the state Game Commission and Keystone State Park.

National Night Out is an annual campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods “safer, more caring places to live.”

Other local Night Out events were held Tuesday at Excela Square at Norwin in Irwin; near the municipal building in Murrysville; at Alison Biondi Gymnastics in Penn Township; and along West Church Street in Ligonier.

On Wednesday, a National Night Out event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Northmoreland Park, 280 Markle Road, Allegheny Township.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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