BORDENTOWN – The Bordentown Township Police Department is continuing its annual National Night Out event this summer on Aug. 18 for Bordentown residents.
The event was supposed to take place on Aug. 4, but was rescheduled because of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Despite the event needing many reconfigurations to go on due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chief of Police Brian Pesce said he felt it was important to hold the event to help his department continue to build relationships with the community.
Instead of the event taking place only at Northern Community Park, police officers will be stationed in different neighborhoods for residents to come out and speak to them about any issues they may have in the town.
“We’ve had a lot of great turnout over the past few years with the event, but unfortunately it will be difficult for us to have that type of gathering with a lot of vendors this year,” Pesce said. “We still wanted to figure out a way to connect to the community. We felt breaking our department up and going into different neighborhoods of the town would help us with our community policing approach.”
Pesce said the main focus of National Night Out is for the police department to hear about any issues surrounding the community that residents have and to start a dialogue to create problem-solving steps to fix those issues.
“We’re looking to hear from residents about any problems or issues that are surrounding the community,” Pesce said. “If they have any feedback or even compliments on how the police department is doing, we’re all ears. Everything is on the table.”
Any questions regarding police reform is another topic Pesce is encouraging residents to speak out about.
The event will operate from 5-8 p.m., with different activities taking place during those times.
There will be limited activities available to adults and children as part of the event.
Police officers will run basketball games at both Northern Community Park and Joseph Lawrence Park. Pesce himself will participate in a neighborhood run that people can join that will take place in the Clifton Mill Area.
There will also be officers on bicycles patrolling different neighborhoods to interact with people walking around and children playing in their backyards or at local parks.
Pesce said these activities will be a good way for police officers and residents to break down barriers and open up lines of communications between them.
It will also help police officers open up more lines of dialogue and trust with children, which is very important to the department, he said.
It’s been a focal point of the department to help promote more outside extracurricular activities around the community for children, since they have been very limited in what they can do the last few months, Pesce said.
Back in March, the department had success running an XBox with a Cop virtual event as a way to promote more interaction between them and children in the community.
“We want to continue to build relationships with our residents,” Pesce said. “That starts with building trust between us and them. Our department is focused on law enforcement that surrounds community policing practices.”
Community policing has been a major backbone of the police department since Pesce took over in 2017. The chief of police and his officers have made it their focus to implement it in the community, so they can help continue to make the Bordentown area a safe place for both them and residents, he said.
Pesce is very proud of how his officers have handled everything with the pandemic the past few months and said his crew has performed valiantly through the tough situation.
The same can be said of the Bordentown community in the eyes of the chief of police.
The great job Bordentown residents have done in following the COVID-19 safety producers is a major reason why the community has had a low transmission rate in regards to the virus, Pesce said.
“I’m proud of our residents,” Pesce said. “They followed the guidelines and did what they were supposed to do.”