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South Brunswick National Night Out returns with success

South Brunswick Township residents and families gather together for annual National Night Out. Photo courtesy of South Brunswick Police Department

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The South Brunswick Police Department’s National Night Out was a night of “fun and games” and helping to build relationships.

The township’s National Night Out was once again held at Rowland Park on Aug. 2 with about 6,600 people attending the annual event, according to the police department.

The tradition returned to South Brunswick after having been canceled the prior two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our police department places great value on the bonds we have formed with our community over the past few decades,” said Lt. Gene Rickle, the department’s community policing division commander. “Not having the opportunity to speak with our residents face-to-face over the past few years was a challenge for us.”

He noted that the police department was very glad to be able to come together with their community members and strengthen those bonds that make South Brunswick stronger as a community.

National Night Out at Rowland Park featured displays of police, fire department and emergency service vehicles. People were able to examine and sit in the vehicles and enjoy bouncy houses, food, games and tug-a-war contests.

South Brunswick children and families were also able to take part in rides that were available at the evening event.

According to the police department, 3,000 hot dogs were eaten, along with more than 3,000 drinks, 2,400 ice creams and ice pops. Also, thousands of game prizes had been distributed throughout the three-hour event.

“Events such as National Night Out are invaluable to us in building relationships with our community,” Rickle said.

South Brunswick’s National Night Out event joined other National Night Out events that were taking place across the nation on Aug. 2.

“It’s important to us to speak with our residents not just at times of crisis, like at a car crash or when they have been the victim of a crime, but in a more relaxed and informal setting,” he said. “It is at times like these that we truly come together as a community.”

National Night Out was introduced nationally in 1984 and is an annual community building campaign that was created to make communities safer and build trust between communities and their police departments, according to the National Association of Town Watch.

This is the 39th year of the campaign, which has millions of people participate and attend across all 50 states. Local communities will either host block parties, parades, and cookouts to celebrate the community event.

The National Association of Town Watch sponsors the annual nationwide event that is also celebrated in U.S. territories and on military bases worldwide with a goal to establish stronger relationships and camaraderie between officers and the communities they serve.

“We most enjoyed having the opportunity to see our residents face-to-face once again, in a relaxed and informal setting, and feeling the strength of our community partnerships,” Rickle said.

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