Residents, cops celebrate Night Out Against Crime

For residents of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Sunset Park,Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend, the park was the place to beduring the National Night Out Against Crime on August 2.

In Bay Ridge, officers from the 68th Precinct and localresidents gathered in Shore Road Park at 79th Street for thenight’s festivities, organized by the precinct and its communitycouncil and featuring the beat of Disco Unlimited.

Free food and other giveaways drew both adults and children, thelatter merrily indulging in repeated trips down an inflatable slidebetween painting rainbows on paper plate halves at a table hostedby the Art Room, and having their faces painted courtesy ofstaffers from the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dyker Heightsbranch.

There was also time for some serious talk, as the new commanderof Brooklyn South, Chief Thomas Chan, was introduced, the 2011Police/Community Partnership Award was presented to ZoeKoutsoupakis, and the 2011 Community Service Award was presented toJohn, Josephine, Jayne and Annmarie Beckmann.

Over at the Sunset Park Ball Fields at 44th Street and SixthAvenue, thousands of children and their parents lined up for somesummer fun in the sun with officers from the 72nd Precinct, whodished out free hot dogs, potato chips, fortune cookies and icecold drinks alongside goodie bags stuffed with water bottles andsafety tips.

Community organizations, the precinct community council andauxiliary police were also on hand to create child identificationcards, paint faces, monitor the bouncy house and give childrenrides around the playground in a real NYPD van.

I love it because it shows the real community being involvedwith the police; that’s what it’s all about and I’m proud to sayI’m a part of it, said Brooklyn South Auxiliary Chief TonyChristo.

Meanwhile, Bensonhurst residents gathered at the 62nd Precincthouse at Bath Avenue and Bay 22nd Street to enjoy a street faircelebration, complete with food and entertainment for attendees ofall ages.

Locals munched on hot dogs, sausages and peppers, zeppole andfried Oreos as they danced along to music from a live DJ and viewedan antique automobile exhibit. Children were entertained with facepainting, a bouncy house and games that offered them the chance towin stuffed animals.

Deputy Inspector James Rooney, who attended the event with histwo children, James and Rebecca, emphasized the importance of theannual Night Out.

It gives us a chance to talk about what we’ve accomplished as acommunity and what we still need to accomplish, Rooney said.

Police Officer Mathieu Pierre, an advisor for the NYPD Explorerprogram, agreed.

It [helps] the community to have a good relationship with thepolice, Pierre said. When they come in this atmosphere, there’smusic and food and it’s a different atmosphere from going in andcomplaining.

The annual event is aimed at building police-communitypartnerships, showing off community spirit against crime, andgarnering support and participation for local anti-crimeprograms.

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