Indio Blue Mass ceremony honors public safety officials
by Colin Atagi
INDIO A church filled with hundreds of people who prayed for public safety officials Friday night and thanked them for always protecting them.
They gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for the annual Blue Mass ceremony, which is dedicated to law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics.
A dozen representatives from the Indio Police Department and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were in attendance, and they received a standing ovation after introducing themselves, one by one.
It would be selfish of us to not take just an hour to show them we appreciate what they do, said Julio De Los Santos, 20, of Indio.
Everyone stood together, prayed and read hymns during the hourlong service dedicated to the guests of honor, who said they were appreciative.
It's Friday night, and you're here with us and that's special, Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said.
The Rev. Alex Gamino, who led the service, also took the time to thank them.
A lot of us are grateful for your presence and grateful you put your lives on the line for us, he said.
Public safety agencies aim to educate at Zebulon Night Out
by Aaron Moody
ZEBULON The town's fire and police departments are ready to show off what they have to offer, and then some.
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the departments will hold their annual Zebulon Night Out event designed to familiarize the public with the services public safety agencies provide. The night is also about bringing the community together for some good, clean fun.
It's a way for us to have all the citizens of Zebulon to come together to one safe place so they can learn more about us, said Zebulon Police Capt. Dennis Brannan. We usually draw a large crowd not only from Zebulon, but from Franklin and Wake County. It's very important that we reach out to everyone.
Free hot dogs, popcorn and drinks will be provided to keep appetites in check as a wide variety of information sharing takes place at the Zebulon Municipal Complex, 1003 N. Arendell Ave., from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Zebulon Community Center, 301 S. Arendell Ave., is the alternative site for the event if weather threatens to interfere, like it did last year.
This year's Night Out will feature the fire department's fire prevention program including fire safety and smoke alarm education and touring the fire safety house and antique fire truck rides. It will also feature police station tours, the State Bureau of Investigation bomb squad, the Governor's Highway Safety Program B.A.T. (blood alcohol testing) Mobile and the Wake County Emergency Management command post.
The Wendell Police Department plans to return its fatal vision (a driving while impaired simulation) and texting while driving programs to the event.
Other booths will offer games, child identification and information on community watch, senior citizen and community policing programs. Local businesses and churches have also been invited to take part and share their information.
Through Zebulon Night Out, public safety officials hope to heighten crime and fire prevention awareness and gain support for local anti-crime and safety efforts.
The public has responded to the event since it was first held in Zebulon in the mid-1990s under the name National Night Out. Brannan said a common turnout was about 500 people in those early years, when the event was held in different areas in the community.
In recent years, as the event has been held at mostly town facilities and referred to as Zebulon Night Out, attendance has been closer to 1,000 annually.