The 8th Police District community went outside and greeted neighbors on Tuesday as they and the district officers let criminals know their community was organized and watchful on this 27th annual National Night Out.
National Night Out was started in 1984 as a high- profile way to get communities involved in preventing crime, according to the organization’s website. It started with 400 participating communities in 23 states, and by last year had grown to 35.4 million participants in 11,310 communities in all 50 states.
Despite the humidity, approximately 400 people enjoyed the tunes of Radio 95.7 Ben FM, free rides in the Blue Flame Fire Truck, bowling on a portable bowling alley courtesy of Thunderbird Bowling Center, a moon bounce provided by Duncan Chiropractic, an awesome karate team demonstration by American Black Belt Academy of Southampton, freebies by area businesses and non-stop food courtesy of WaWa, Papa John Pizza, Morrell Avenue ShopRite, Bi-Rite Deli, CDC Food Brokerage, Interstate Bakeries, Michel’s Bakery, Philadelphia Water Ice Company and Penn Maid Dairy. PDAC Vice Chairman Harry Sonntag served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz stopped by, along with State Reps. Dennis O’Brien and Brendan Boyle. Councilman Frank Rizzo, Jr. was also on hand sampling the goodies. The kiddies especially enjoyed the complimentary glow sticks provided by Councilman Brian O’Neill and the delicious soft pretzels by Representative Boyle. The festivities hosted by the 8th PDAC started with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance followed by Winchester Park resident Allison Dignam singing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
Four Toys R Us gift cards were presented to the winners of the best- decorated bikes/scooters, and all the kids visiting the Polonia Bank Flyers Skate Zone via peddling their bikes or riding on fire trucks received free skate passes for a future visit. The district sponsored bike identification etching and kids’ fingerprinting, which both the kids and their parents appreciated. In addition, the children posed for pictures with the immaculately dressed district officers next to police cars, motorcycles and motor bikes. A special treat was visits by the K-9 unit, McGruff the Crime Prevention mascot and the fire engine from our neighboring firehouse at Academy and Comly Roads.
All 42 posters from the PDAC sponsored NNO Crime Prevention poster contest were displayed, including the winners: Sean Gamble, age 5, of Torresdale Preschool; and Barrett Paoletti, age 10, of St. Katherine’s School. Each will be awarded a $100 savings bond compliments of Michael Contino, son of PDAC President Rosemarie Contino.
The PDAC earlier that day sponsored a gun buy-back amnesty program at the 8th District in which 13 guns plus one BB gun were turned in. Participants received a $25 gift card courtesy of the Academy and Grant Avenue Police and Fire Federal Credit Union and the WaWa Corporation.
It was a successful and fun-filled National Night Out and another great event displaying our community’s police-community partnership.
Elsie Stevens lives in Holme Circle and is a member of the 8th PDAC. You can read all her contributions to NEast Philly here.