VIDEO: Local Police Departments Prepare for "National Night Out"


NEW JERSEY -South Jersey Police departments begin setting up for this year’s “National Night Out,” and talk to SNJ Today about activities going on Tuesday, as well as what the night of community bonding means to them.
“We’re here for them. You know, we’re here to serve them and to protect them," said Chief James Bennett.
“Just having that relationship there, where the police know they can come to us with things, and we can go to them with any problems we have. It makes our jobs immensely easier," said Detective Mitch Levin.
Multiple police officers have said that solving and preventing crimes takes a partnership between the community and officers.
National Night Out is held the first Tuesday in August all across the country, and local South Jersey police stations are taking advantage of open spaces and fields, to show their residents a different side of law enforcement.
“I’m out there a lot in the public, and I always enjoy meeting new residents, visitors, you know, putting our face out there, if you will. Letting people know there’s a human side to us," said Bennett.
The Brigantine Police Department is hosting their 2nd year of National Night Out, with an expected number of 750 to one thousand visitors. On their 25th Avenue baseball fields, residents can check out demonstrations of equipment, some county SWAT team action, and explore a helicopter.
“This will give them a good idea, to some of the things that other than your routine patrol officers, you know, what other people do. And again, it’s a good chance for them to see us in a non-law enforcement setting," said Bennett.
Over the bridge and into Absecon, their police department is opening Pitney Field with music, giveaways, live demonstrations, and a chance for citizens to meet the rest of their community.
“What they can expect is a big turnout from not only our police department, fire department, EMS, but we get a ton of businesses in town that come out and set up tables, so it’s a good chance for the community to get to know different people that work in town and vice versa," said Mitch Levin.
Although the night is most definitely filled with fun, games, and a few surprises, both officers agree on the same goal of the 33rd annual event.
“It’s an event to help foster relationships with the community and the police. Everyone comes here, our residents, our visitors, they get to meet our officers," said Bennett.
“It’s good for the community to interact with us and us interact with them. It helps build a stronger partnership with them, and that’s kind of the whole idea of National Night Out and how it got started," said Levin.