By Tina Pappas
The annual National Night Out was held in the Township on Aug. 2, where local residents mixed and mingled with those in their local public service departments.
Held every August, the free event is based on a community-driven campaign with the goal of promoting police and community partnerships. Local residents were treated to food and refreshments, including entertainment throughout the evening at the Little Falls
Town Hall parking lot.
On-hand for the event was Mayor James Damiano, Council President
Anthony Sgobba and Councilwoman Christine Hablitz. Deputy Chief Bryan Prall and Corporal Jon Vanak, along with officers from the Little Falls Police Department (LFPD), also took part in the event. Tents throughout the parking lot housed the LFPD, New Jersey Transit Police, the Army Coast Guard and the Passaic County
Sheriff’s Department C.E.R.T. program. The Little Falls Fire Department and EMS were also represented. Children enjoyed a bouncy house and magician entertainment. DJ music was also featured.
Other entities at the event representing services and business included Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc. and Visions Federal Credit
According to Prall, community events like National Night Out are more vital today than ever before.
“It gives the police department and other entities in town the ability to meet the community without an incident necessarily,” he said. “It’s the chance to get on a personal level and engage in conversation and see our
capability. Events like these help to dispel any negative image when it come to police.”
Prall also highlighted the launching of the Officer Playing Card Program in the LFPD, a unique program for kids 14 years of age and younger to get
to know their local police officers.
“It’s to engage our youth and give our police a chance to introduce themselves,” he explained, adding that it’s similar
to collecting baseball cards. “Once they collect an entire set, they can receive a prize tickets for a raffle. All of these programs are super important because they helps foster positive interactions between today’s youth and
police. It’s all about building and maintaining the trust and seeing officers in a positive light.”
Local resident Maria Hofmann said the event is a nice way to spend a
summer evening by getting to know those in local public service entities in a causal setting.
“Little Falls may be a small town but our police and emergency services have such a
big presence in our town,” she explained. “It’s so nice to see them out like tonight and just having a great time with their families along with all of our neighbors.”
Her sister Veronica agreed and said it’s important to show gratitude to those who look out for others.
“It was great to see everyone come together and show some appreciation for the people who help keep us safe.”
Photos courtesy of the Township of Little Falls