Hundreds came out to celebrate National Night Out in North Bergen, where there were six different locations throughout the township, and West New York, who hosted a large event at Miller Stadium last night.
“Tonight is really about the officers interacting with the public. I just addressed roll call a minute ago and I told them how important it is that we take the time to form relationships,” North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd told Hudson County View at the police headquarters on 6100 Tonnelle Ave.
“A night like tonight really, really accentuates why it’s important. It’s important because of the national conversation going on right now about a strain on community and police relationships. And here in North Bergen, we really have a wonderful relationship.”
North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, also the state Senator of District 32, and Allen Pascual, the township’s public safety commissioner, both noted that a whopping 76 officers were volunteering their time across the six National Night Out events.
Officials started out the evening at the Lawler Senior Citizen Center, hosting raffles for the residents, before making their way over to the Meadowview Village where a block party included a barbecue, a mini train ride and two moon bounces.
In West New York, Police Director Robert Antolos spoke about local unity in the midst of national tragedy.
“We’ve always said in West New York, the West New York Police Department are the people of West New York. It’s a little bit somber too in light of all the assassinations of police officers throughout the United States, so it’s also a time to reflect and realize the sacrifice that all our first responders put on the line every day,” he said.
“A night like tonight, where everybody can gather as one, stand against crime and show everybody, the whole world, that the United States is together to fight crime.”
Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, who attended multiple National Night Out events throughout the county, also stressed improving police – community relations during tough times for law enforcement across the nation.
“With everything happening in our country, nationwide, this is very important for all law enforcement to interact with the community,” Schillari said at Miller Stadium.
“Hudson County is a very diverse community, I think it’s the most diverse in the state, and I am honored to the 55th sheriff of Hudson County, but more important, I am the sheriff for all the people. And we must protect the community and the people who serve the community.”
Mayor Felix Roque, a longtime advocate for law enforcement, stated during a separate interview that “I can tell you I probably have the best police department in the state.”
The Hudson County Sheriff’s Office had several vehicles and officers stationed in the stadium, including a SWAT truck and a table showcasing SWAT gear.
Other attractions at the stadium included a small hayride, several moon bounces, food vendors and even a dunk tank where several West New York police officers volunteered to take a plunge into cold water for a good cause.