Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

National Night Out Promotes Perris Anti-Crime Resources

Perris resident Jose Ramirez and his son, Damian, 3, get an upclose look at Prince, a bay horse owned by Paula Nilsson, a member of the Perris Mounted Posse.Perris resident Jose Ramirez and his son, Damian, 3, get an upclose look at Prince, a bay horse owned by Paula Nilsson, a member of the Perris Mounted Posse.

Several hundred people turned out for Perris’ annual “Night Out Against Crime” on Aug. 3, taking the opportunity to meet their police and firefighters, watch some law enforcement demonstrations and see the equipment authorities deploy to help them keep the City safe.

A contingent of Perris police officers, led by Chief John Hill, arrived at Frank Eaton Park in a procession that arrived with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Equipment on display included motorcycles in use by Perris police traffic officers and the new Chevy Caprice interceptor, which is being tested throughout Riverside County. The venerable Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor is being phased out, Hill said.

The department’s Mounted Posse made an appearance with the horses used for patrolling, searching for lost and missing people and at City parades. Volunteers from the Perris Police Explorers and the Perris Citizens Patrol also were on hand. A fire engine also came out.

Hill said the National Night Out effort, which turned 30 this year, allows police and residents the opportunity to interact and discuss ways to prevent crime—such as joining the Citizens Patrol or starting a Neighborhood Watch group.

“Crime prevention begins at home or on your block,” Hill said. “Crime prevention works best when people know their neighbors and spot suspicious people in their neighborhood.”

Perris resident Araceli De La Cruz and her son, Jeramiah, 3, attended the National Night Out on August 3 at Frank Eaton Park where they inspected a police car.Perris resident Araceli De La Cruz and her son, Jeramiah, 3, attended the National Night Out on August 3 at Frank Eaton Park where they inspected a police car.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, City Councilman Julio Rodriguez and Public Safety Commissioner Chase McComack attended this year’s National Night Out event.

“It’s great to have this interaction between the public and public safety representatives,” Busch said. “It builds better relationships for everyone.”

The Mayor noted that Perris has increased the size of its public safety budget this year in an effort to keep the City’s crime rate low. He said Perris officials are committed to devoting the resources to keep the City as crime-free as possible.

Rodriguez noted that in many ways, the National Night Out in Perris resembled a community picnic. Employees from Target cooked hamburgers, hot dogs and handed out soft drinks and snacks to the crowd.  Perris City staff provided musical selections. McGruff the anti-crime dog made the rounds. Children petted and posed for photos with the mounted posse horses. Whiskey, the department’s crug and search dog, showed his prowess by capturing a fleeing suspect—actually a police officer wearing protective clothing—as the crowd looked on.

Rodriguez said that National Night Out started as a neighborhood effort to take back a block or a neighborhood from criminal elements. Perris’ event this year emphasized neighbors coming together to learn about crime fighting and crime prevention.

“It’s a great idea,” he said. “I hope we can expand it in the future.”

Perris residents liked what they saw.

Perris Police Officer Richard Fransik and his canine partner, Whiskey, greet Perris resident Andrew Lizardi and his 7-month-old son, Ryan, during the National Night Out event on August 3.Perris Police Officer Richard Fransik and his canine partner, Whiskey, greet Perris resident Andrew Lizardi and his 7-month-old son, Ryan, during the National Night Out event on August 3.

Araceli De La Cruz brought her 3-year-old son Jeramiah, to National Night Out. She took his picture while sitting inside a police cruiser. Things couldn’t get better for a youngster who hopes to become a policeman when he gets older.
“I love the City of Perris for the great events it offers,” she said. “They go out of their way to get the community involved. I’m loving it!”

Andrew Lizardi brought his 7-month-old son Ryan to National Night Out where the infant checked out the police dog. Lizardi said he moved to Perris from Redlands and enjoys his residence on the City’s north side.

“It’s nice to be able to interact with law enforcement and to get to know people who live in your community,” Lizardi said.

Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Yarbrough said he hopes City residents take advantage of events like National Night Out to form Neighborhood Watch groups, join the Perris Citizens Patrol or call police if they spot suspicious activities. It’s also the chance for residents to see the equipment and services their tax dollars are funding, he said.