Red Light Ball lights up, helps out
A popular annual event gives people a chance to help out police and fire fighters.
“The general public has the opportunity to meet and interact with people in law enforcement and fire they wouldn’t normally see, and rub shoulders with these guys,” said Bill Drown, organizer of the upcoming Red Light Ball.
As many as 450 people are expected to attend this year’s event at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on Feb. 22.
What started as an inaugural shindig for Sheriff Keith Royal in 1999 has turned into an annual party that helps buy equipment for police and fire departments and provides scholarship money and training.
“It’s a big event, and people in the community really want to support law enforcement and fire,” said Drown, who is president of the Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council, the group that puts on the event.
The ball is one of the main fund-raisers for the nonprofit council, and is expected to raise $18,000 this year, said Drown. The other main fund-raiser is an annual golf tournament – the Guns and Hoses Golf Tournament.
The proceeds have been used to buy a mapping computer that will be field-tested by fire departments this year, helped revamp a shooting range in Grass Valley that is used for SWAT training, supported a California Highway Patrol Explorer’s post, and helped repair an armored car for the sheriff’s SWAT team.
But in some ways, the ball is more than a fund-raiser. It is a nucleus for people to support public safety, and for police and fire departments to mix and mingle outside of professional relationships.
“The better you know somebody, the better you get something done,” said Undersheriff John Trauner.
Trauner said the interaction between various public safety agencies here is the best he’s seen in more than 20 years in law enforcement. And the ball is the social end of it.
“I don’t look at it as a fund-raiser,” said Trauner. “I look at it as a celebration of public safety.”
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Red Light Ball
WHEN: Feb. 22
WHERE: Nevada County Fairgrounds on McCourtney Road
INFORMATION: 268-9080. Reservations are required by Feb. 14.
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