In an effort to show children that police officers are their friends, and to band to together with the public in crime-fighting efforts, National Night Out was again hosted by the city and its police department, on Aug. 5.
The event was held for the fourth consecutive year on Del Monte Drive, between 23rd and 24th Streets, which has helped in consolidating the event. A Bayonne staple for at least the last 15 years, it had been held in other locations.
At the event, there were numerous activities for children, including a football toss, bounce house, and balloon slide. The adjacent mini-golf course was open for use and free. A DJ provided music. Refreshments included popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones.
But most of all, it provided good, clean fun for the youth of the city, while striving to forge a bond between residents and law enforcement in order to fight crime in Bayonne.
Michele Hulsman attended with her children, Alexandra, 7, and Will, 5, and thought it was a good place to go on a summer night.
“This is a great event to bring our community together to showcase the importance of police and community partnerships,” Hulsman said. “Our family had a wonderful time."
“It’s a great thing,” said Lisa Amadeo, who was there with children, Matthew, 3, and Ava, 1. “It allows my son to meet police officers.”
Among those tending to the crowds were some of the 20-member strong local Police Explorers group. Thomas Bellotti, who will be a sophomore at Bayonne High School next month, said it was important for him to be staffing the event.
“I believe National Night Out teaches young kids responsibility,” he said.
There have been meetings held to discuss plans for integrating Explorers into police operations, police officials said.
Brothers and sisters in arms
“This event is one of the many ways in which the police seek to build a stronger relationship with the Bayonne community,” said Police Chief Drew Niekrasz. “It’s an opportunity for police to interact with people in a social setting.”
Niekrasz says he sees familiar faces every year because of the type of small-town, close-knit community Bayonne is.
History of Night Out
National Night Out, which began in 1984, is designed to increase awareness about police programs in the community, strengthen neighborhood spirit and the police-community partnership, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and are ready to fight back against crime. The event has grown to include 38 million people and 16,000 communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and military bases around the world.
“National Night Out is a great event that promotes safer communities across America,” said Mayor James Davis.
Jessica Sulima contributed to this story.