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Prescott’s National Night Out celebration reaches many locals

Prescott Police Department K-9 officer Shawn Bray shows off his K-9, Blue, to a crowd of Yavapai Hills community residents on National Night Out on Tuesday, July 7. (Max Efrein/Courier)

Prescott Police Department K-9 officer Shawn Bray shows off his K-9, Blue, to a crowd of Yavapai Hills community residents on National Night Out on Tuesday, July 7. (Max Efrein/Courier)

As Prescott Police Department K-9 officer Shawn Bray spoke to about 80 residents of the Yavapai Hills community in Prescott Tuesday evening, Aug. 7, for National Night Out, a fly incessantly flew around his head.

“It’s really bugging me,” Bray announced to the seated crowd as he tried to causally swat it away.

A woman in the front row quickly suggested he shoot the fly, evoking an eruption of laughter from many in the room.

This is the sort of jovial banter encouraged during the nationwide community-building campaign celebrated every year on the first Tuesday of August.

“National Night Out is an opportunity for us to meet our community in the place that is most important to them – their neighborhoods,” said Prescott Police Department Deputy Chief Amy Bonney.

“In a day and age where electronic mail, social media and text messages seem to rule the day, it’s a chance to catch our breath, connect with each other on a personal level and just talk about what is happening in the world around us.”

Personnel from both Prescott’s police and fire departments made an effort to visit any communities that requested their presence. A few of the larger gatherings took place at Estancia Private Park, the Club at Prescott Lakes, Gardens at Willow Creek and the clubhouse at Yavapai Hills, Bonney said.

Officers and firemen attempted to answer any questions asked of them, address any concerns and offer resources.

Firefighter and paramedic Jason Beyea spoke about one resource at Yavapai Hills called File of Life. The tool is simple a medical information sheet anyone can obtain, write their basic info into (i.e. allergies, medications, emergency contacts) and post on their refrigerator.

“These are really awesome for us, especially as a paramedic,” Beyea said as he held up an example. “If I show up and let’s say you can’t talk to me because of your condition and you’re the only one home, for me trying to figure out what’s causing that for you, these are really cool.”

For more information about the basic medical tool, go to www.folife.org.

The star attraction at Yavapai Hills, however, was Blue, a female lab that works as a K-9 for the Prescott Police Department.

Her handler, officer Bray, got to show off a little of what Blue does and talk about how great she is as Prescott’s lone K-9.

“Blue’s been kicking butt,” Bray said. “Our main goal is to support patrol. When they get a traffic stop and the subject is showing signs of drug activity, but denies consent, we get called in to search the vehicle.”

Rich Kaplan, the block watch coordinator for the Yavapai Hills community, said Yavapai Hills likes to celebrate National Night Out every year for two reasons.

“We see the evening as an opportunity to support our first responders, and second, it’s an opportunity for the local residents to meet in a more informal setting with Police and Fire departments,” Kaplan said.

Next year’s National Night Out event is Tuesday, Aug. 5.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at mefrein@prescottaz.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.