Ex-cop kicks off weeklong stay in Dumpster|[07/30/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Doug Arp climbed into a big, green Dumpster at the Culkin Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday afternoon, kicking off a weeklong stay aimed at fighting crime.

Arp immediately began blowing up balloons for the children on hand. It has been six years since he has pulled off one of the stunts he’s become renowned for while promoting National Night Out in Vicksburg, but he slipped comfortably into his old role.

“It feels good to be back. It’s going to be a great week – as long as they don’t pull the plug on the air conditioning,” he said, laughing.

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At noon Tuesday, a motorcade of squad cars and a fire engine escorted Arp from the Warren County Jail to the fire station. Arp rode atop the fire engine, waving at everyone. While the well-wishers, children and television news crews who came out to see Arp sweated in the near-100-degree heat, Arp stood comfortably in the waste container, which he has outfitted with an air conditioner.

Arp will emerge from the Dumpster Tuesday, National Night Out, when neighbors across the country are encouraged to meet each other via grill outs and block parties.

“I’ll be here all week to talk to people about crime prevention and try to help them set up a neighborhood event for National Night Out,” said Arp, who also has some fun events planned for his visitors. “We’ve got a patrol car filled up with balloons, and we’ve got some donated prizes for whoever can guess how many balloons are inside.”

When Arp retired from the Vicksburg Police Department in 2002, he also ended a 10-year streak of spending an entire week each year – using his own vacation time – promoting National Night Out. He has stayed in a Dumpster for a week before, as well as spent 168 hours straight in a fountain, a hole in the ground and a squad car hoisted 60 feet in the air by a crane. The many national awards he has been presented for his stunts are attached to the Dumpster.

Claiborne County Sheriff Frank Davis was one of the 40 people on hand Tuesday to watch Arp climb into the Dumpster. Representatives from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Jackson Police Department, Clinton Police Department, National Parks Service and local agencies were also on hand.

To support DougDoug Arp encourages people to call and visit him at Culkin Volunteer Fire Department. He will be there until Tuesday. His phone number is 601-831-4969, and the station is located at 45 Freetown Road. “His first job was in Claiborne County, and over the years we became good friends,” Davis said. “He asked if I might be able to make it over here today, and I told him I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I support anything that brings attention to law enforcement efforts, and nobody does it quite like Doug.”

National Night Out was created by the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit crime prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The first National Night Out was held in 1984, in which about 400 communities in 23 states participated. This year, 10,500 communities in all 50 states are expected to participate, as well as communities in U.S. territories, Canada and U.S. military bases worldwide.