Smoky skies and warm temperatures didn’t stop residents from participating in National Night Out events across the capital region on Tuesday.
Hundreds of cities and towns across the United States participated in the National Night Out, and Sacramento was no exception. There were 31 National Night Out events in the city alone on Tuesday, according to Sacramento officials.
The National Night Out campaign was first established in 1984 and aims to host a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live,” according to the organization.
Most Sacramento National Night Out coordinators estimated that their event would garner at least 50 people attending, though some estimated that around 600 people would be in attendance.
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Around 200 residents, Sacramento Police Department officers, Sacramento Fire Department firefighters, Colonial Heights Community Association volunteers and United States Army soldiers met up at Colonial Park to barbecue, play games and talk with neighbors and community law enforcement.
Children played tether ball with officers and climbed on a rock wall with the help of Army soldiers while parents watched from the grass and talked with neighbors.
Mark Chin, who lives in Colonial Heights, said he and his family try to be involved in the neighborhood as much as possible, which is why he came to the event.
“We like to know our neighbors,” he said. “It’s just good to know people near you, even if you don’t see them every day, just knowing that we talk with them is a good way to build connections.”
The Colonial Heights Neighborhood Association provided food — hot dogs, watermelon, chips, drinks and desserts — all of which was donated by Target, according to the event’s co-chair Steve Bicker.
Bicker and his wife Kathy, who was also an event co-chair, have lived in Colonial Heights for two years, but Kathy grew up in the area.
“I think it’s important to bring the community together, so neighbors meet neighbors, as well as bringing in our local law enforcement and creating relationships,” Kathy said. “I love it. This is home, this is where I played as a child, and I’ve come back and it’s wonderful.”
The event is also a way for neighborhood residents to meet with law enforcement agents who patrol their area in a positive situation. Some Sacramento Police officers visited multiple National Night Out events in their respective areas of patrol, according to Executive Lieutenant of East Command Dan Monk.
“We love getting out and getting to know people, it’s important to engage with our community and say hello,” Monk said.