Wednesday, August 05, 2009

National Night Out: Police and Community Partnerships

On Tuesday, August 4, 2009, communities throughout America gathered to celebrate National Night Out a police & community partnership initiative. At the request of the Livingston, New Jersey Police Department, I was invited to share remarks during the opening ceremony with Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dowd, Police Chief Craig Handschuch, Township Manager Michele Meade, Mayor Charles August and Police Officer Gary Mankowitz. Officer Mankowitz coordinated this first National Night Out for Livingston with true professionalism.

As a crime prevention specialist, I have been privileged to participate in and encourage involvement with National Night Out celebrations for the last 15 years. I first experienced this event at the invitation of Patrick Fay, retired Lt. from the Hackensack Police Department in New Jersey. For many years while managing a private security company, I would send a team of employees to meet the Hackensack Community and to fingerprint children so their parents could have these records as a safety measure.

Last night's event—held at the spacious fields of Livingston High School—was remarkably successful and attended by thousands of Livingston residents as well as people from throughout Essex County and New Jersey. These included families, law enforcement agencies, first responders and the generous businesses who donated time, foods, refreshments and prizes for hundreds of children.

Reprinted from the National Night Out website

National Night Out is America's Night Out Against Crime designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

The Livingston Police department, especially Chief Handschuch, Officer Mankowitz and the entire community policing unit is to be commended for their first National Night Out which enhanced police–community partnerships and gave Livingston families a night to remember.

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