Celebrate National Night Out and help create stronger bonds between the police and the community

National Night Out Against Crime is upon us once again on Tuesday, August 3, and what an amazing event it is. This annual national community-building event helps promote a healthy police-community partnership throughout the country in order to help make our neighborhoods safer and better places to live for everyone.

The first annual National Night Out was created in 1984 and 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states came out to celebrate. Since that time, neighborhoods began to host big parties and cookouts for National Night Out as a way to bring the police and communities together in a fun-filled setting. In our little corner of the country, we have amazing celebrations with food, fun, music and games for everyone to enjoy at many of our local parks and playgrounds.

While these parties and festivities are great, the connections that we foster between the communities and their police departments are the real reason to celebrate. When we have a strong bond between the police officers and the people they are sworn to protect, we are safer as a community. The partnership between the community and the police allow these officers to be more familiar with their sectors, get to know the residents better and learn the issues that affect them.

In recent years, the connection between the police and communities across the country has been strained to say the least. We are at a crossroads right now when it comes to police-community relationships, and I believe an event like National Night Out is the perfect way to bring us all together again.

With the introduction of Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs), the police department is working towards a more inclusive way to patrol neighborhoods. The NCOs are two officers dedicated to a specific community so they get to know the neighbors and issues of that community. NCOs, working within their local precincts, help to address neighborhood issues, such as noise complaints, abandoned cars, after-hour park activity and other quality of life matters that negatively affect our area.

When the police and community work together, we can see amazing results. I am proud of the officers and neighborhoods throughout my district for working in conjunction to eliminate crime. Our precincts have dedicated representatives at the community board and local association meetings, as well as their own monthly precinct council meetings, to update everyone on the crime stats and to gather information on issues that are facing our residents. It is this type of engagement that keeps these bonds strong and communities safer, and it is this type of cooperative community effort that is really needed right now.

I hope to see many of you on National Night Out (NNO), as I try to visit each event in my district. For more information about a NNO event near you, call my office at 718-738-1111.