National Night Out Against Crime brought the community and law enforcement officials together for fun at six different locations in North Bergen on Tuesday, Aug. 2. North Bergen Police Officer George Dabal said, “National Night Out Against Crime is for the community and the police to get to know each other, listen to concerns, and have a community relationship.”
Communities across the country host National Night Out events on one day each year so that the police and the public can interact and show they’re vigilant about crime.
Officer William Brown said, “We meet a lot of residents here where they have fun together. We see the fear in kids’ eyes about cops, but when they’re here playing with us, they have smiles on their faces.”
There were plenty of gifts for kids like water bottles, t-shirts, and badge stickers with the North Bergen Police Department insignia. Kids won coloring books, bikes, bags, and glow sticks in free raffles. A boy and a girl also won bikes in a raffle.
Residents enjoyed free hamburgers, popcorn, cotton candy, and watermelon.
Deborah, 10, came with her parents and younger sister. “Today I played, and got my face painted,” she said.
Her sister Madison, 7, said, “My favorite part was going in the bouncy house.” The two said they also ate lots of cotton candy.
Most residents came to the location at Policeman’s Park for a hip hop performance by Shake, a North Bergen resident. Performances at other locations included salsa dancing by performers and residents.
According to Dabal, salsa dancer Beberly Devers is an officer’s daughter and has been featured on the Ellen Degeneres Show, as well as Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey.
Last year, National Night Out Against Crime was held at five locations around North Bergen, and didn’t include entertainment in all of them, Dabal said. He said there’s more entertainment at each now.
A West New York resident, Omar Guazhco, 18, said he came out to Policeman’s Park to see Shake perform. He said he stayed there from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to get her autograph and picture.
“It was free, I ate, and I’m going to wait for more performances,” he added.
“It’s also good for the chief and Mayor to introduce themselves to anyone who never met them,” Dabal said.
Officer Brown added, “The future is right here with these children, and it’s very bright.”