BORDENTOWN – Building a strong relationship with members of the community is very important to Bordentown Township Police Chief Brian Pesce and the officers in the police department.
That is why the police department made sure to continue its annual National Night Out event last summer during the coronavirus pandemic, finding creative and safe ways across the township to hold small gatherings in its efforts to connect with the community.
Pesce said he believed holding the event last year was a great “informal way” for officers and residents to connect. It has even prompted Pesce and the police department to want to hold more of those types of small community gatherings in the future.
“We got really good feedback from it,” Pesce said. “We had officers set up in every neighborhood in the township. It was very well received.”
With this year’s National Night Out event returning to its regular schedule, Pesce said he and his staff are “very excited” to get back to having big community events and having the chance to interact with residents on a larger scale.
“We enjoy it so much,” Pesce said. “We want our community to know who we are and what we stand for; that we serve by our principles of honor, integrity and empathy.”
This year’s National Night Out will be a collaboration between the Bordentown Township and Bordentown City police departments and will be held on Aug. 3 at Joseph Lawrence Park from 6-9 p.m.
Residents will have the opportunity to speak to police officers about issues in the community during a meet and greet session that will kick off a fun night of community-building activities.
Exploring emergency vehicles, cops vs. kids basketball, cornhole with cops, a K-9 demonstration, safety booths and “Xbox with a Cop” headline a list of activities that will be available for adults and children to enjoy.
Free food and drinks will be available to everyone. There will be a DJ to provide music, a bounce house and face painting.
“It helps provide our officers the opportunity to get to know everyone in the community,” Pesce said of National Night Out. “It cultivates conversation. We want to be connected with our residents and do what we can to keep them safe.”
National Night Out was introduced nationally in 1984 and is an annual community building campaign to make communities safer, according to the National Association of Town Watch. This will be the 38th year of the campaign, which has been held in 400 towns in 23 states.
Pesce, who is a lifelong resident of Bordentown, is in his fourth year as police chief.
Throughout his tenure so far, Pesce has made it an emphasis for the police department to be “hyper-focused” on community policing.
That makes events like National Night Out something Pesce and his staff look forward to each year and one they all enjoy being involved with.
“The happiness and joy of being together as a community and getting to know each other will help us in the future,” the chief said. “It is really nice to see the smile on the faces of our residents. It’s a big morale booster to our officers.”