It’s not often residents get the chance to drop local police officers into a dunk tank right in front of the police department, but Tuesday night York residents did just that.
York Police Detective Sgt. Billy Mumaw jokingly taunted children and adults alike as they lined up for their chance to throw softballs at a red button that would drop him into the water below.
Among those standing in line were Mumaw’s wife, Dana, who was elated when someone finally hit the target.
The dunk tank was just one of the many activities on Roosevelt Street as part of the city’s National Night Out event, raising awareness about crime prevention efforts.
“The night allows people to see the police in a more sociable, family-friendly way,” Dana Mumaw said.
Bringing the community together was one of York Police Chief Andy Robinson’s goals in hosting the event for the third year.
“We just want all the citizens to come together and show them that we’re here for them,” Robinson said. “A lot of the time when they interact with the police it’s not always a positive experience. We’re very community-oriented police so this is just one thing that we like to do to give back to the community and just have fun with the community.”
Kesiah McCoy of York brought her four children to the event.
“Most kids are scared of police because all they see on TV is the police shooting somebody,” McCoy said. “They shouldn’t have that kind of fear.”
Charlie Cannon, a York grandfather of six, brought three of his grandchildren to participate in the festivities, which included bounce houses and free food. He is proud of the local police’s recent attempts to bring the community together.
“I think it’s good to bring everybody together and show that the police are on their side,” Cannon said. “We ought to come together anyhow.”
The night also included a backpack and school supply drive, led by Tender Hearts Ministries, which has hosted the drive each year of York’s National Night Out.
Tender Hearts President Ainslee Moss said providing children with items they need gives her and the others at her organization a good feeling.
Kyle Pearson, a Fort Mill High School teacher, traveled to the event with his wife and son. As a teacher, he was happy to see the school supply drive.
“It’s a shame when the kids don’t have the right type of school supplies and it’s great that they were advertising this school supply drive,” Pearson said.
The school supplies were provided by members of the community, which highlighted the event’s goal of community togetherness.
Mayor Eddie Lee’s spoke to the group at the outset of the event.
“Making sure that York is safe is not just (the York Police Department’s) job, it’s our job,” Lee said. “We need to make sure that everybody watches their neighbors, is concerned about their neighbors and trying to make sure their neighborhood is safe.”