This week’s National Night Out, an annual event that brings police and communities together, was welcomed and timely. The National Night Out campaign fosters police–community partnerships and provides an opportunity for police and their neighbors to interact face to face at barbecues, porch parties and other social venues.
From the police officers of the Port Authority Benevolent Association who brought their canteen trailer to serve hamburgers and hot dogs at the Teaneck Police Department National Night Out event in Votee Park, to Los Angeles Airport Police officers who recently hosted hundreds of disabled youth at LAX to familiarize them and their families with air travel, police officers strive to better, and make safer, the areas they serve. Building relationships through community engagement helps promote and create more secure neighborhoods, and allows police and citizens to get to know each other one on one in a fun environment.
National Night Out also reinforces that policing is a uniquely rewarding profession, and hearing from so many citizens about their gratitude and respect for police officers during these times is appreciated and not taken for granted.
“These fun events that bring together police and local communities remind people that we are all here to help them,” says Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “Talking and engaging in a dialogue helps us all better understand one another’s perspectives, and we often come to the same conclusion: that the needs of the community and the needs of the police are mutually reinforcing.
“We are proud to be police officers,” says Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “Nothing makes us prouder than when our neighbors and friends stand beside us and celebrate our common cause of safety and security. National Night Out is a great way to do this. Thanks to everyone — my officers and the community — for showing up and making it a great night.”