Kyle Navarro, 3, knew exactly what he liked about the Carson City Sheriff's Department's National Night Out picnic Tuesday in Mills Park.
"The helicopter is cool!" he said excitedly, pointing his tiny finger at a Nevada Army National Guard Black Hawk. "See, it's over there. The big one."
Law enforcement agencies throughout Carson City converged on the park to celebrate a night designed to show criminals a community united against crime.
Kyle came to the event with his 8-month-old brother Wade; mother, Adrienne; and father, Dave.
In a shady spot on the lawn, the family joined friend Holly Kuhlmann with her sons Grant, 2, and Wade, 5 months, for free hot dogs and soft drinks.
"We came last year, and saw that it was happening again," said Kuhlmann, the wife of a Lake Tahoe police officer. "It's a really good family activity."
As Grant and Kyle chased each other through the grass, dozens of other children toured the Black Hawk, climbed a fire engine, hugged Smokey Bear and donned DARE T-shirts that read, "I (heart) me."
"I'm very pleased with the turnout," said Sheriff Kenny Furlong, who decided when he took office three years ago that this event would be something in which his administration would participate.
Thousands of communities across the United States celebrated the 22nd annual event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. More than 34 million people participated last year.
The goal is to heighten crime- and drug-prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, according to the National Night Out Web site.
More than 1,000 free hot dogs provided by Safeway were served at the three-hour event, said Furlong.
"I really appreciate the community support that we had out here. We had a lot of fun, and we hope to have a better year next year," he said.
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.