BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A Tuesday night event brought law enforcement and the community together. This past year and a half first responders played a critical role as essential workers during the pandemic. Tuesday, the community has a chance to meet with some of them.
Six-year-old Lauren is looking ahead to a future career as a police officer.
“I can help others and catch criminals,” she said.
On Tuesday night she got a little taste of what that could look like at National Night Out for first responders.
“My favorite part of tonight is everything. I can see everything around here it’s cool,” said Lauren.
Lauren and her family joined hundreds of others locally at the event.
Kaydence, a seven-year-old resident is also looking to be an officer when she grows up. She said she was able to build up the courage to speak with everyone from CHP and the Bakersfield Police Department and even fire personnel.
“I thought it was fun. At first, I was a little bit shy to talk to them. But now I’m okay. I can talk to them now,” said Kadence.
Blane Martinz from the Bakersfield Fire Department said events like this help better serve the community.
“It takes us away from that emergency situation where the community is seeing us at the time, they call for us. And it’s getting us out here and they’re getting to see us as regular people,” said Martinz.
Firefighters showed the community everything from their fire truck to the daily tools they use, which was a hit amongst kids.
“Unfortunately, these days children don’t have a favorable impression with law enforcement for whatever reason. I think events like this it leaves them with a favorable impression,” said Cynthia Zimmer.
Zimmer told 23ABC that this is a great event to showcase all the resources that Kern County has to offer. They showed everything from the motorcycles CHP officers ride, to robots, bomb suits, and the guns that the police use.
“People want to know like hey how did that happen? They want to see that stuff. So, when they come out here and see what we have. They kind of understand a little bit more. And a better understanding of what their police department does for them.” said Craig Trefz, Detective with Bakersfield Police Department.
Some of these lessons showed the harsh realities of the career in hopes of preventing tragedies going forward where lives can be taken within seconds.
“Behind me, we actually have the victim vehicle from a DUI collision,” said Anthony Kidwell with the BPD traffic division.
Kidwell told 23ABC the “a life interrupted program” shows graphic collision scenes in hopes of bringing awareness to driving under the influence.
“It’s very important, especially in our youth. Where they haven’t really had that experience yet. To understand the reality of what their actions may cause in the event they are driving under the influence,” said Kidwell.