For police, firefighters, EMS and other first responders, interaction with the public usually comes at a time of trauma, when people are hurting or when they are at their worst.

On Tuesday, local community members got to meet their local emergency responders and see the faces behind the badge, underneath the helmet and outside the ambulance.

The 35th annual National Night Out for the Carlisle area was held at the Carlisle Fairgrounds Tuesday and invited the community to a free night of fun, food and entertainment.

“It’s really nice,” said Carlisle resident Alicia Brown “It’s a nice night. The rain held off. [My son] got to try on all the police equipment and see all the cars. It’s nice.”

Representatives from numerous local agencies including Carlisle Police, North Middleton Township Police, the Cumberland County Sherriff’s Department, Cumberland Goodwill EMS, Carlisle Barracks Police and local fire companies were on hand Tuesday night.

A K-9 demonstration was put on by Carlisle Police Officer Jeffrey Kurtz and K-9 officer Pedro.

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Representatives from the Sheriff’s Department provided free children’s photo IDs. The children had their photo, fingerprint and personal information put into a law enforcement database that can be searched if the child ever goes missing.

Tuesday night was an opportunity for the local community to get to know the emergency personnel who provide services to their area.

“If you look at the national media and you look at the stories out there, they don’t see police as real people,” Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis said. “We’re regular people just like everybody else. We just have a different job to do. We want to connect to the community.”

North Middleton Township Police Chief Gary Carver said Tuesday night was an opportunity for police to also get to know their community members.

“We’re normal people. We go home at night,” Carver said. “We have the same wants that the community has. It’s good for the community to get to know us and for us to know them, because when they call us, they know who we are.”

Other National Night Out events were held across Cumberland County, including events in East Pennsboro Township and one in Wormleysburg hosted by the West Shore Regional Police Department.

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Email Joshua Vaughn at jvaughn@cumberlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Sentinel_Vaughn.