National Night Out events look to build relationships between community, police – California News

National Night Out events look to build relationships between community, police – California News



Salinas >> Since the city of Salinas resumed holding National Night Out events again in 2014 in an effort to build relationships between the police department and the community, the events have grown exponentially.

“The very first one (since the Community Safety Division took over after a multiple-year hiatus following the previous events) in 2014 was about 300 people,” said Jose Arreola, the city’s community safety administrator. “We were at over 1,000 last year and we expect to grow even larger this year.”

The National Association of Town Watch started National Night Out in 1984 and the events now draw about 38 million people each year in 16,000 communities across the country. The Salinas event will be Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at the Salinas Soccer Complex, 1440 Constitution Blvd. It will feature police officers and firefighters from Salinas as well as officers from the California Highway Patrol. Attendees can tour the equipment and vehicles the first responders use and there will also be music, live entertainment, food, an inflatable obstacle course and a resource fair.

Arreola said National Night Out provides a relaxed setting for residents and police officers to get to know one another.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to feel so moved,” he said of his experience with the event in previous years. “For me, I’m really passionate about building better police-community relations and when I walk around this event, you see kids of all ages, of all races interacting with law enforcement officials.”

The events are typically held in two ways: block parties where police visit different neighborhoods throughout the…

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