As police sirens sounded and children were heard playing, families descended on Village Park to celebrate community with the Cranbury Police Department for its annual National Night Out on Aug. 1.
Children played basketball on the courts, volleyball in the sand, and soccer on the park grass while music played throughout the evening.
“This night is about bringing the community together and is a celebration of everyone in the community,” said Officer John Glennon, vice president of Cranbury Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 405. “We like having everyone see us in a little bit of a different element versus meeting on a call or a not so happy moment.
“Without the support of our community it makes coming to work a little bit more stressful. So, it is really good to see that we have the support of the community and that they back us on a lot of things.”
People of all ages who attended the night out were able to explore the various police vehicles and equipment in each truck on display as their lights flashed.
“Tonight, just feels like a sense of community,” said resident Brett Houle. “It is nice to meet other people in the area since we came to Cranbury in 2021. This police department always seems like a very approachable department all year round and it is nice to see the volunteer firefighters engage with all of us too tonight.”
The Cranbury Volunteer Fire Department and Cranbury First Aid Squad joined the police department for the community event.
“The energy has been really great here at National Night Out,” resident Sara Rankin said. “I’m happy to be in such a small town where I can say I see you direct traffic on Mondays and you are on the fire truck when Santa comes, so it is great.
“It is nice to see the officers informally and get to talk to them in a more neighborly and relaxed setting.”
This year touch-a-truck once again featured trucks from George’s Garage & Towing where children were able to climb up to the flatbed of a truck and play.
“It is nice to be with our community, see friends, get to mingle with the police force, and be in this wonderful town,” resident Erin Santise said. “Tonight, gives that tight knit feel that we love here in Cranbury.
“I do know a couple of the officers on a personal basis, and I think it is nice for them to be able to show a different side of themselves that they aren’t always able to show as they keep our community safe.”
Arts and crafts, cornhole, music, food and ice cream were just some of the other amenities that children and families enjoyed and participated in.
Cranbury Police officers grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for those who attended and handed them out as the sun went down in the township.
“This is great family event, and my kid is really enjoying seeing all of the fire trucks and talking with all of the firemen,” resident Christine Condon said.
“Tonight, gives you a unique perspective when speaking with the first responders and the kids get to have fun exploring their trucks. This is our first time at National Night Out and tonight fosters a nice community feel that I have not seen in other places that I have lived.”
National Night Out, which is sponsored by National Association of Town Watch, has been working towards making communities safer for decades as the annual national campaign strives to help build a stronger relationship between police departments and communities.
The campaign rolled out in 1984 is designed for millions to participate whether it be through local celebration parties or cookouts.