Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
By Michael V. Cusenza
Before a fierce thunderstorm—replete with prolific, vivid lightning flashes and an intense downpour—sent participants scurrying for cover, the unique cop-community relationship took center stage Tuesday at Police Officer Edward Byrne Park in South Ozone Park for the 106th Precinct National Night Out Against Crime.
Hundreds of South Queens families joined the men and women who serve and protect their communities each day for some summer food and fun, including a rock-climb wall, bounce castle and ice cream, all set to a live DJ’s soundtrack. The 35th annual event also featured plenty of opportunities to get to know the cops on your beat and crime-prevention information.
In 1984, the National Association of Town Watch, founded to connect community watch programs across the country and provide them the resources they needed to make a difference in their neighborhoods, officially introduced the National Night Out as an event in which 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. It has become an American tradition for residents to forge a positive bond with the law enforcement officers who are tasked with protecting their community.