K9s, deputies, community mingle on National Night Out

A little girl looks back for a little encouragement as she nears the top of the ”climbing wall” leading to the top of a giant inflatable slide set up in Holt Park for National Night Out. Gini Davis

By Gini Davis
Community Editor

Hourly demonstrations by Lane County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 Unit were a big hit during Creswell’s second National Night Out, held Aug. 6 in Holt Park. The event was part of a nationwide annual community-building campaign held the first Tuesday in August that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
”The biggest thing is to get the community out and connecting with us, so they feel comfortable talking to us, having their kids feel comfortable around us, knowing we’re there for them,” said Creswell’s fulltime LCSO sergeant, Scott Denham, who was on hand along with Sheriff Cliff Harrold and several uniformed deputies.
Hektor, a 2.5-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his handler, Deputy Raymond May – with another deputy in the role of ”suspect” – demonstrated the dog’s seek-and-apprehend skills, as Hektor clamped his jaws onto the ”suspect’s” well-padded arm, taking him to the ground as he tried to ”escape.”
Neighboring Cottage Grove experienced Hektor’s abilities firsthand in early July, when Hektor –son of retiring K9 Frits and the newest member of Lane County’s K9 Unit – used his keen sense of smell to track and locate a 53-year-old male suspect hiding in the woods after dark. But no ”clamping” was required during that incident.
”Most of the time, when they see the dog, they just give up,” May said. ”You’d be surprised how many people don’t want to get bitten by a dog.”
When ”off-duty,” Hektor and Deputy May mingled with the crowd, the dog accepting pats as May answered questions about the dog’s breed, training and work. He explained that Hektor is one of two LCSO K9s trained for suspect tracking, as opposed to sniffing out drugs or participating in search-and-rescue operations, and that both LCSO K-9s live with their deputy handlers, with their food, veterinary care and equipment – including a bulletproof vest – provided through community donations and fundraisers.
Also popular during National Night Out were LCSO and South Lane County Fire & Rescue vehicles, including a Creswell Station 203 fire engine and the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) tactical response vehicle that LCSO acquired as military surplus, and refurbished using seized drug money.
Adding to the fun were an inflatable climbing wall/slide, dunk tank, Creswell Library’s stomp rocket activity, ”crime scene” maze (marked off with yellow crime scene tape), ring toss game for prizes and music by Creswell High School’s DJ Club. Deputies outfitted kids with free bicycle helmets, and free food was provided by New Hope Baptist Church and Sanipac.
In addition to building community-police relationships, Sgt. Denham noted that another goal of National Night Out is to connect neighbors with each other to help prevent crime and vandalism.
”In places with Neighborhood Watch, there’s a lot less crime,” Sgt. Denham said. ”Our goal next year would be to have enough Neighborhood Watch neighborhoods that they can hold block parties for National Night Out and we can go to them.”



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos