Stony Brook Elementary School was filled with residents from the surrounding Hopewell/Pennington area for the Hopewell Township Police Department’s National Night Out.
National Night Out is a program that was introduced in 1984, which brings together both local police departments and communities for an evening of celebration, according to officials.
“This is a great opportunity for folks to come out and is an opportunity that is not an emergency. We have at least 15 of our officers out here,” Hopewell Township Police Chief Lance Maloney said. “Our officers get to know the people we serve on a more personal level.”
He explained that it is important with the event that people understand that police are there to protect and serve them.
“We are a team. We need their help and they need our help and if we work together we are able to make the community safer,” Maloney said. “We are fortunate to have so many people, departments and volunteers out tonight”
The event took place on Aug. 6 at the elementary school in Pennington and is the sixth year the police department has organized this event for the public.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, desserts, snow cones and cotton candy were all served, free of charge to those in attendance. DJ Bobby Jones provided the music entertainment for the two-hour evening event.
Children played in a bouncy house, with yoga goats in pen and had a chance to dunk Hopewell Township police officers at the dunk tank, which included Maloney.
People were able to enjoy a ride on the Pennington Fire Company firetruck ladder and go up close with a township Department of Public Works’ truck.
John Zsamar of Pennington Borough brought his children to National Night Out to see and enjoy the festivities.
“Having this event is wonderful. You get to see friend and neighbors which is great,” Zsamar said. “This National Night Out event teaches the children to get involved with activities. This is just great to interact with so many of the various departments out here tonight.”
The parking lot was filled with vehicles from the police, fire and emergency services with lights shining throughout the evening.
“It is great to get the community together like this. We always want to get people involved,” Hopewell Township Committeeman John Hart said. “If you look at the national news an event like this is important for the community and police department. We have the best police department. A lot of people actually know our policemen.”
He said he hopes people takeaway a sense of community and get to know not only the police department and first responders but each other.
The police department was joined by the Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, the Pennington Fire Company, the Pennington First Aid Squad, the Hopewell Fire Department, the Union Fire Company and Rescue Squad, Department of Public Works and Health Department for the National Night Out event.
National Night Out was fheld rom 6-8 p.m. and the Hopewell Township Police Department and Hopewell Township Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) 342 served as the co-host to the event.