“This night is about celebrating our relationship with the community and police throughout the country,” said Captain Robert Conwell, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct. “Here in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights we are very lucky. We know that the community supports us 100 percent.”
Hundreds gathered on Tuesday at Shore Road Park for National Night Out Against Crime with the 68th Precinct.
Police precincts throughout the borough celebrated the event, which is held annually to educate and inform residents about what their law enforcement precincts do and how to stay vigilant and remain safe in their neighborhoods.
Conwell greeted the hundreds of attendees with a solo bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America.” The much-anticipated community event was more like a giant block party with members of the NYPD, FDNY, elected officials and civic leaders joining forces for a common cause.
There were dozens of booths set up promoting various organizations, political candidates, local merchants, banks and hospitals, along with a variety of food and various activities for children.
Music was provided by the popular group Alive N Kickin and its lead singer Pepe Cardona, who had a top-10 single in 1970 with the hit “Tighter, Tighter.”
Conwell and David Ryan, president of the 68th Precinct Council, hosted the event. Ryan reminded the crowd that last year’s musical performance was cut short due to rain, “but we got real lucky tonight with this great weather and this great turnout,” he said.
Conwell and the 68th Precinct were presented with a proclamation on behalf of Borough President Eric Adams, who himself is a retired NYPD captain.
Ryan introduced Assemblymember Peter Abbate who said that coming out to support the men and women of the police department, and especially the 68th Precinct, was important. “They are the finest and the work that they do day in and day out makes our neighborhood one of the finest in the entire state,” said Abbate.
Fort Hamilton Army Base Commanding Officer Col. Andrew Zieseniss was thrilled to be at the event. “I’ve been here for a year with my family and what a tremendous community this is. I can’t thank [the 68th Precinct and first responders] enough for what [they] do for our community and for Fort Hamilton,” he said.
Northfield Bank VP Brian Chin said he was happy to support National Night Out Against Crime. “We have the officers here and it brings the community together,” said Chin. “There’s great team spirit, crime prevention brochures and a lot of exhibitors. It’s just a fun event for the community so we’re just happy to be here.”
Walter Ochoa, owner of Right at Home Health Care, echoed Chin’s sentiments. “We need to provide support for people in uniform in our community,” Ochoa told this paper. “They are always there for us so we need to be there for them when they need it.”
City Councilmember Justin Brannan explained, “I have to do a bunch of these National Nights out and they’re all at the same time, but the 68 is always the biggest and the best,” he told this paper.
“I really think that the relationship this community has with the police is bar none. And tonight I’m presenting a check for $7,500 dollars to the precinct council so that they can keep doing events like this for the community.”
Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus said she was excited to participate in the event. “Bay Ridge is a really special place for me,” Frontus told this paper.
“Every time I come here I see so many families out having a good time and it just fills my heart with joy seeing a lot people here taking advantage of this special night. If we ever needed a time for police and community to come together, it’s now,” she added.