Members of the Cranbury Police Department enjoyed a summer evening of food and family with the community that the officers serve.
The event was its annual National Night Out.
On the grounds of Village Park in Cranbury, families interacted with the township officers, children danced to music and played in bouncy obstacle courses and there was plenty of food to go around on the evening of Aug. 6.
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 event is just absolutely great,” said Cranbury Police Officer Michael Cipriano, who organizes National Night Out. “This gives the community a chance to come out and meet all of our police officers, which shows a great community – police officer relationship. This event is extremely important to every police department across the United States. We just really appreciate it because a lot of our officers do not get to see a different part of the public everyday.”
Cipriano who is also the president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in Cranbury reported that the entire department attended the event.
“Having the community interact with our officer helps us unbelievably, because without the community we are not able to do our job. Without their support the police department would not be able to get the resources and tools that we need to do our jobs everyday,” he said.
Cranbury has taken part in this event for a sixth year in a row.
Hamburgers, hot dogs and samples of pasta were served from a food truck provided by Zinna’s Bistro. Ice cream was served next to the truck as families lined up for frozen treats. Teddy’s Restaurant in town also provided donations along with George’s Garage and Towing.
“Even our businesses in town go out of their way to support the police department,” Cipriano said.
Children posed with police vehicles, fire trucks and emergency service vehicles as its lights were lit throughout the evening.
Prizes were given out to children dancing to the music provided by Cranbury National Night Out staple DJ Reggie. The police department was also handing out bags of treats.
Tony Alfano, owner of George’s Garage and Towing, donated one of his trucks for the event that lifted an American flag skyward in support of police. Alfano said he has participated in all six of the Cranbury National Night Out events.
“This is giving back to the police department and the community. It’s nice to be out here to support our police because they are here for us and we are for them,” he said. “Everybody gets to know a little more about each other on a personal level with this event and it just helps everyone.”
National Night Out is co-sponsored by the FOP Lodge 68, the police union and the township police department.
The Cranbury Police Department was joined by the Cranbury Fire Department and Emergency Services.
“All the first responders are here and I think it is nice that the community comes out to see what we have. Residents get to meet the officers and talk with them one on one,” said former chief of police Harry Kleinkauf. “The people the officers get to know make their job a lot easier. I wish back in my time we had a little more of this.”
Over the six years the annual event in Cranbury has averaged between 300-400 people, according to officials.