Night Out Against Crime
By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
MORGAN CITY — Law enforcement and emergency personnel came together with community members for the area’s first Night Out Against Crime, where children were able to get fingerprinted and look inside a fire truck among many other activities Tuesday night at Lawrence Park.
Doric Lodge 205 Free & Accepted Masons in Morgan City sponsored the event. The Morgan City Police Department partnered in putting on the event.
Doric Lodge 205 Worshipful Master John Schaff, who organized the event, said they had a very good crowd for a first-time event with people “not really knowing what it’s about in Morgan City.” The lodge plans to continue to host the event annually, and Schaff hopes it gets bigger each year, he said. Schaff is also a sergeant with Morgan City Police.
“I’m proud of my guys in the lodge. I’m proud of the police department that I work for and all the agencies that I work with,” Schaff said.
The event gave people positive interaction with police giving residents the information they need to know and “the tools they need to have to rid crime from their streets,” Schaff said. “Without the people, the police department has nothing to go by,” he said.
Schaff has one year to be worshipful master of the lodge, and he chose to put on this event as well as the “First Responder Appreciation Dinner” in May.
“This is one time the kids and the families can come out and have a good interaction with the police,” Schaff said. Police and residents were able meet one another’s families, Schaff said.
Ten bicycles were given away to children who entered a drawing. Fishing poles, tackle boxes, ice chests, and T-shirts were also given away, Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said. Police gave photo IDs to kids in attendance, and DNA tested and fingerprinted kids, he said.
Morgan City police corrections officer Lori Guarisco did the fingerprinting and DNA testing for children so police can have the information on record in case something happens to them, she said.
Children also got to get inside a Morgan City volunteer fire truck, and firefighters demonstrated different parts of the truck. The fire truck was the same one involved in the crash that volunteer firefighter Travis Bourdier was injured in Saturday night.
Volunteer firefighters held a boot drive during the event to raise money for Bourdier, who suffered two broken legs after a vehicle hit him while he was helping at the scene of another crash. Bourdier was a volunteer firefighter in Morgan City, Bayou Vista and Patterson.
Bayou Vista volunteer firefighter Victor Bisani said a special account is going to be set up at Whitney Bank for donations to help pay for Bourdier’s expenses.
Firefighters will also hold a boot drive throughout Bayou Vista to raise money for Bourdier from 9 a.m. until dark Saturday, Bayou Vista volunteer firefighter Chris Detiveaux said. “We’re going to be all over the Bayou Vista area. Just look for the big red trucks,” Detiveaux said.
Crouch said there were enough hamburgers and hot dogs to feed 1,300 people and none were left at the end of the night.
Officers also taught children the basics of knot tying and how to cast a fishing pole, Crouch said. Officers had fake fish set up and whoever caught the most fish won a fishing rod and reel, Crouch said.
“This has been the most exciting thing. This has made my night ... to watch their face with this, it’s unbelievable,” Crouch said.
The St. Mary Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness brought its homeland security trailer for people to walk through, and Teche Action Clinic did free blood pressure and diabetic screenings. Representatives from Acadian Ambulance and state police were also there.
The two-mile “Run Against Crime” was also held in conjunction with the event. Troy Verret and Lindsey Cook, both of Morgan City, were the male and female winners in the two-mile race.
Don Rich provided music for the event, and Swamp People’s Troy Landry showed up as well.