By Sarah Scinto, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — As the thundering horns and chords of the Star Wars Imperial March played, Darth Vader and a squadron of Storm Troopers strode onto Public Square.
The costumed crew drew the immediate attention of crowds gathered for National Night Out hosted by the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch and local law enforcement agencies.
Organizer and Crime Watch president Charlotte Raup, a fan of the Star Wars films, watched their arrival with glee.
“They called me,” she said.
The members of the 501st Legion volunteered to bring a bit of a galaxy far, far away to the event on Public Square that offered attendees a chance to interact with police officers and emergency personnel.
Raup said law enforcement staged fingerprinting and K9 demonstrations amid the booths and activities offered by area agencies.
“It’s an opportunity for people to meet law enforcement and know we’re all in this together,” she said.
Paisley Scalfer of Kingston brought her 3-year-old son to the event for one main reason.
“He loves police cars,” she said. “He’s having a blast.”
Officers parked several vehicles on the square and gave demonstrations to help people get an idea of what law enforcement officers do. Scalfer said she enjoyed the K-9 demonstration in particular.
Scalfer said while he came for the police cars, her son, Kaiden, would likely benefit from the intent of National Night Out.
“It’s good so kids don’t grow up being scared of cops,” she said.
Gail Rikoske of Wilkes-Barre sat under one of the tents, taking a moment to enjoy some food before wandering around the booths.
“It’s fun and it supports a good cause,” she said.
Raup said she has helped with National Night Out for 20 years. Sunday’s event drew a large crowd, thanks in part to the warm, sunny weather.
“I’m thrilled at the crowd,” she said. “It’s going very well.”