Township getting ready to celebrate 35 years of NNO

IRVINGTON, NJ — On Tuesday, Aug. 7, Irvington will join the rest of the country in observing the 35th anniversary of National Night Out in Civic Square from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will feature free food, drinks, prizes and giveaways.

According to the National Night Out website, the United States has been celebrating NNO on the first Tuesday of every August since 1984.

“Our goal is to shed some light on National Night Out,” said the statement on the NNO website. “Let’s go back to the beginning. In 1981, the National Association of Town Watch was founded to connect community watch programs across the nation and provide them the resources they needed to make a difference in their neighborhoods. In 1984, the NATW officially introduced National Night Out as a night where community members and local police officers would band together to meet with each other, discuss community safety concerns and celebrate the neighborhoods where they live.”

According to its website, National Night Out “is a night for residents to forge a positive bond with the law enforcement officers that are tasked with protecting their community.” And Mayor Tony Vauss said building bridges and bonds of trust and understanding between police and the public has always been an integral part of his plan to make Irvington clean and safe.

“Solving and preventing crime requires the cooperation of the entire community,” said Vauss on Tuesday, July 24. “National Night Out is a unique opportunity for law enforcement, local government and residents to come together and strengthen our shared relationships, as we build a safer community. I look forward to this program every year.”

Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers said he also looks forward to the township’s annual NNO celebration for many of the same reasons, and added that the event is designed to bring law enforcement and community members of all ages together in a non-threatening setting, to reinforce the bonds of communication and cooperation. He said criminals are the only people who won’t be welcome at this year’s celebration.

“National Night Out is an annual event where the police and community get to interact with one another and enjoy food, fun, prizes and giveaways,” said Bowers on Monday, July 23. “It’s all in the spirit of developing a positive relationship with them that works both ways. It’s actually an all-hands operation for the township. The mayor has done a tremendous job in planning and assisting in this event. We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a good evening with us.”

Bowers said NNO is all about building better bridges between the Irvington Public Safety Department and the residents they protect and serve.

“That’s what it’s all about in law enforcement,” said Bowers at last year’s event on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. “We need that to create a better environment for ourselves and our children and our residents and people who visit our township and our great state.”

And that’s why, Bowers said, NNO is so important.

“We have our annual event, where the people come out and enjoy a great time with the police officers, the community, the fire department and all departments. It’s been a wonderful tradition that we continue to carry out and we love to have an opportunity to interact with the community on a positive note on a positive basis,” Bowers said. “National Night Out is important, because it provides an occasion for the community to interact with the police department when it’s not a stressful time. It’s a time where it’s fun and the cops and the community can both let their hair down and enjoy themselves and the festivities and activities and such.”

For additional information about next week’s NNO event, call Sgt. Sheyla Zepeda at 973-416-5730.