A night out in Albany and Dougherty County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A night out in Albany and Dougherty County

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - School is in Wednesday but kids had one last night out in Dougherty County. Tuesday night, communities all over the country partnered with police to take a stance against crime and drugs.

At Radium Springs Middle School there were several flashing emergency lights, several police cars and even a fire engine.  But there was no cause for alarm. "We're having a blast," said Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

It's all part of National Night Out, a celebration of the good in a community, when there's plenty of bad opportunities for crime. Ask some of the parents and children in attendance what's out there and they'll tell you. "Gangs, drugs, violence, death," said A'Jay Jones.

Jones is an 8th grader who says events like this help keep kids from rolling down the wrong path.  "I think it's really good. It keeps kids off the street and from doing anything wrong," said Jones.

Families lined up to have fingerprints done and some face painting, all for the greater good. "We're letting the neighbors come up from different neighborhoods around and they're visiting with us. We're talking to them about crime and different techniques on fighting crime and making them aware of things going on in their neighborhood," said Sproul.

It's an opportunity to bring citizens and cops together to fight drugs and crime. "We want them to know that we do care about them and no one can do it alone. It takes all of us working together to make a difference," said Sproul.

"When they see something like this, it lets them know we're all in this together," said Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek.

Law enforcement also hopes it sends criminals a message. "Well hopefully it tells them that people care about the community, care about their neighborhoods and we're going to take a positive step toward cleaning up some of the problems," said Cheek.

They say a night out can make all the difference. "Most definitely. It's just another step toward the community community coming together from all different aspects," said Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley.

From a young perspective, the event gets approval from kids like A'Jay. "Keeps them from doing the wrong thing. Keeps them from going to prison, keep them from leaving home, keeps them from killing folks. It helps," said Jones.

It's one more thing to reduce the number of times you see those emergency lights pop up on any other night out around town.  

Albany Police also hosted National Night Out events at three locations. At the Dawson Road precinct, kids took turns taking a splash in a dunking booth. There was also food, games and a playful clown.

Members of the Southern Rivers Kiwanis Club helped out. They say events like this make a huge difference. "We've got a lot of kids in the streets, not knowing which direction to go, then you have events like this going on with law enforcement. It kind of helps get kids off the streets, take back our communities, and get things going the right way again," said Robert Lewis Junior with Kiwanis.

Albany Police also had fun events at the East District and the Central District on Newton Road.

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