Shane Cohn, 10, had an opportunity to a see how a crime scene unit works when he visited the Night Out Against Crime event at the Baton Rouge Zoo on Sunday with his family.
Shane’s mother, Patricia, 32, and brother, Tylor, 8, stopped by the Baton Rouge Police Department’s mobile crime scene unit where Sgt. David Fauntleroy showed the Cohns all of his evidence-gathering “toys,” as he called them.
“They like to see the stuff they’ve seen on TV,” Fauntleroy said.
The mobile crime scene unit was one of many displays and demonstrations at the event, which coincided with a national day of public interaction with law enforcement.
Also on hand with exhibits were the Sheriff’s Office, the Baker Police Department and the Baton Rouge Fire Department, among others.
Fauntleroy also showed Shane Cohn how to remove a fingerprint from a crime scene.
Cohn touched the side of the mobile crime scene truck with one of his fingers. Fauntleroy dusted the spot, placed a special clear sticker over it, then pulled it off the truck.
Fauntleroy pressed the sticker together, showing Cohn’s fingerprint in the imprint.
“There’s your fingerprint,” Fauntleroy said to Cohn as he handed him the clear sticker.
The Sheriff’s Office brought two pieces of high-tech equipment: a special watch tower with video cameras and a robot used for bomb squad operations.
“It’s like show and tell,” Sheriff’s Office Capt. Blair Nicholson said.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department brought one of its giant cranes but only for show. It also brought a large toy fire engine it uses to entertain children.
“They really get a kick out of that,” said Barry Mounce, Fire Department spokesman.
Mounce said Sunday’s festivities show children that officers and detectives are “not just here as a figure of authority.”
“The idea is to be involved in the community,” he said.
The displays at the event sat under tents in a grass field behind the zoo’s parking lot.
Most people in attendance stayed under the tents as long as possible to beat the heat.
A stage stood in the middle of the lot and showcased local musicians along with messages from the heads of local law enforcement.
A pair of local police chiefs, Baker’s Mike Knaps and Baton Rouge’s Dewayne White, stood on the stage and thanked people for attending.
“We hope y’all have a great day while you’re in Baker,” Knaps said.
Estelita Baptiste, 54, of Baton Rouge, brought her two grandchildren, Zaire, 8, and Esais, 5, to the event.
Baptiste said she took her grandchildren to the function so they could ask questions about how law enforcement works.
“Most of the time, kids don’t know the relationship the police department has with other departments,” she said.