Friends and family members laughed at and cheered for Ty Montague as he attempted to steer a golf cart through a maze of orange cones, knocking down several of them.
With Knightdale Police Officer Jacob Jones in the passenger seat, Montague, 18, faced an unfair disadvantage though, wearing “drunk goggles” which produce the vision of a drunk individual at 0.08 blood alcohol level.
“No wonder when people get behind the wheel they have no control,” said Theresa Jones, who tried to walk a line while wearing the goggles. “I was dizzy and out-of-control.”
The drunk goggles exercise is a popular one during the town’s annual National Night Out, when community members can engage with EMS, Fire Department and Police Department officials.
Residents turned out this year on Tuesday night to explore an ambulance, watch firefighters raise an American flag from their ladder truck, submerge a police officer in a dunk tank and enjoy free hot dogs sponsored by Target at the Shoppes at Midway.
This event was just one of the many ways that Knightdale public safety members have been increasing their engagement with Knightdale citizens.
Hearing from citizens
Later this month, the police department is hoping to hear back from the town council regarding a diverse community relations board that aims to allow citizens to engage with the department on a regular basis, serve as community-police liaisons and even make recommendations.
Chief Lawrence Capps said the number of community members is currently being determined, but will likely be between seven and nine members from a variety of backgrounds like the faith, business and education communities.
Council member James Roberson said he was excited about engaging youth in the community board as well.
“It’s something we want to get pushed out as soon as we can,” Capps said. “Whether it’s something formal or something informal, we’re looking for opportunities for the police department to engage in a positive manner, ahead of any sort of drama.”
The department has already been pushing social media efforts and interacting with residents on the Nextdoor app and website.
Capps said the department will continue to offer the Citizen’s Academy, which is an instructional few days of lessons in public safety and understanding the work of a law enforcement officer.
One new program they are looking to introduce is “Soft-serve for Safety,” where officers will hand out Wendy’s soft-serve vouchers to children practicing bicycle safety. They are still waiting on the fast-food chain to provide the vouchers, although they have expressed interest in the program.
“You can’t wait until a moment of crisis to build these types of important relationships,” Capps said. “It really does take a community effort to establish and maintain the type of lifestyle we enjoy here in Knightdale.”