ROCKINGHAM — Cops and kids came together Tuesday for the city’s annual National Night Out at Cole Plaza.
From a rock climbing wall to bounce houses and a dunking booth to face painting and fingerprinting, children of all ages came out for a night of festivities.
“This is a chance for the community to come out and meet police officers and ask questions,” said Capt. E.W. Grant of the Rockingham Police Department.
The event kicked off with cadets from the Rockingham Junior Police Academy receiving their certificates in a graduation ceremony.
Rockingham police had a Fatal Vision golf cart obstacle course to allow drivers to experience simulated alcohol impairment in a controlled environment. Officers had goggles that simulated both day and night and different blood-alcohol content levels.
There was even a band, Rockingham-based Hydrenaline, belting out cover songs from Stone Temple Pilots, Three Doors Down and Blue Oyster Cult.
“It’s fun,” said 8-year-old Tobey Lunceford, who had attended the annual event three times and said he’d “done everything but rock climbing,” but that was on his list.
“For a small town, this is perfect,” said his mother, Jackie Ussery. “He sees friends that he normally doesn’t see. It’s different.”
The national program, in its 30th year, has been held in Rockingham for more than 10 years, according to Richmond County Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr.
“It’s impressive when you can bring the community and law enforcement together as one,” he said. “It’s all of us working together.”
Clemmons said that’s what the program is all about.
“The chief has done a good job maintaining the opportunity and being responsible for putting it on,” he said. “I tip my hat to Chief Billy Kelly.”
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.