Residents and Police Mingle During Night Out
The annual National Night Out allows police departments to reintroduce themselves to the community.
Over the years, Capt. Darren McConnell said, community policing has changed.
Modern methods of police work have pulled police off of the streets, put them in cruisers and behind computers. When it comes to preventing and responding to crime, the change seems to have worked, at least in Red Bank where crimes have dipped significantly over the past couple of decades. The cost, however, may have been the Red Bank Police Department's ability to foster a better relationship with the community.
Enter National Night Out.
On Tuesday, Red Bank hosted its local version of the national program designed to help encourage crime prevention by building trust between police departments and the communities they serve. With information booths, free food and refreshments, and family activities, officers, out of their uniforms and in casual wear, mingled with members of the community.
"It's really just to bring the community out and to give them a chance to see the police department in a different light than they might usually see them," McConnell said of National Night Out. "The image of police has changed so much, all over the country; you're not seeing officers out walking a beat as much, there aren't as many opportunities to just talk to police."
McConnell said it's important to express to the community that the Red Bank Police Department has its best interests at heart because the department's officers are part of the community.
Red Bank police were joined by the borough's Parks and Recreation Department, Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, other organizations as well as area elected officials.