Joan Roberts received a strange pair of glasses last month — and tonight she's eager to pass them around for kids and grown-ups to peer through.
"Our assistant police chief said, 'Here, try these on.' I immediately felt nauseated. Then he said, 'Come over here and walk a straight line.' So I took one step forward, and one step back, and sat down."
Roberts, administrative assistant at Midvale City Hall, was among the first in Salt Lake County to wear the "Fatal Vision" goggles — special lenses that simulate intoxication. The goggles, plus police-dog demonstrations, two helicopters, fire trucks and a bicycle rodeo, will be featured at Tuesday's safety fair in the Midvale City Park, 435 W. 7500 South. Admission is free to the event from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
"I'm not a drinker. So I don't know what it feels like to be schnockered," said Roberts after she learned the goggles are meant to muddy up the world. "If that's what it feels like, I'll never join that group." Wearing the goggles, "you feel light-headed and the ground doesn't feel like it's really there. I would no more walk with those than fly to the moon . . . no way could you drive anywhere."
The Fatal Vision goggles "give you complete distortion," added Midvale Police Sgt. Sherman Lloyd. Teenagers, children and adults can put them on and try strolling in a straight line, "while bystanders see what alcohol can do to your perception."
Every year Midvale police hold the safety fair to strengthen the relationship officers have with residents. Young people who finish the bicycle rodeo can take home free bike helmets. New parents can watch a demonstration of how to install a child's car seat. And families can watch a drug raid unfold, as the Midvale police turn their sniffer dogs loose on a vehicle where marijuana has been stashed.
The K-9 demonstration will also feature a dog "taking down a bad guy," said Midvale Police Chief Gerald Maughan. A thoroughly gloved officer will pose as a criminal who tries unsuccessfully to outrun the attack dog.
Two helicopters — an Apache from the Utah National Guard and an AirMed rescue model from University Hospital — will swoop into the park tonight to take their place among the fire trucks and police cruisers on display. Maughan said these emergency vehicles always attract swarms of children.
"We're trying to build a rapport" between law enforcement and Midvale residents, Maughan said. At the safety fair his officers will hand out Neighborhood Watch information to help people make their city safer, one block at a time. "When neighbors get to know each other, they can watch out for each other. The police department can't do it alone. We need people to be our eyes and ears," the chief said.
The safety fair, during which hot dogs, chips and soft drinks will be for sale, is part of Midvale's weeklong Harvest Days celebration. On Friday night, local nonprofit groups will serve inexpensive dinners and hold a karaoke contest from 5 -7 p.m. in the city park. Saturday's activities include a 5K run at 9 a.m., with registration starting at 8 a.m. at Midvale Elementary School, 362 W. Center St. Next comes a parade, more food, live music all day and the Talent Quest Competition at 7 p.m. Those daytime festivities all center around Midvale City Park. Then the finale takes place at Midvale Middle School, 7852 S. Pioneer St., with a fireworks display at 10 p.m. Saturday. For more information about Harvest Days events, call 567-7200.