Tuesday, August 19, 2008

National Night Out: A Growing Community Effort

National Night Out began in a couple of dozen states in 1984 as an effort to encourage residents to get more involved in crime prevention in their neighborhoods and to partner with their local officers. Today, millions from all over the United States participate in this worth-while effort. Last Tuesday, I attended several in my district. The first was in Boyle Heights and I was amazed as to how many residents, especially young people, came out for the Peace Walk. With about 1,000 people in attendance, the event was focused on denouncing violence and promoting safety in our community. Captain Chow and some of our officers from Hollenbeck were there as well, showing their commitment and support.

While Boyle Heights residents are veterans of National Night Out, El Sereno was participating in its first campaign. Captain Chow and Hollenbeck officers again joined us there, and we ended the march at El Sereno Park with a screening of the film, “Hairspray”!

In Eagle Rock, about 150 people came out. We had some nice sponsorship from Eagle Rock Plaza and Target. The Northeast Explorers were out in full force along with LAPD Northeast Division officers, including Captain Murphy, commanding officer for the division. The event was representative of Eagle Rock’s small town atmosphere.

In Downtown, there was a lot to enjoy: boxing matches, karaoke singing, ice cream, and world-renowned jazz band Hiroshima. My wife Richelle and I had a nice conversation with Police Commission President Anthony Pacheco. Senior Lead Officer Jack Richter from LAPD’s Central Division led about 45 cyclists on a guided tour downtown.

Overall it was great to see folks from all over my district showing their support for law enforcement. I want to thank everyone for taking an active role in our communities’ safety, from LAPD to community organizations to residents. We all worked together to make these events a success. It’s a partnership!