Community policing: Locals, officers gather for National Night Out Against Crime

Photo by Janel Bladow
Officer Frank Verrico brought out his partner, Officer Darwin, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd, to meet the kids.

BY JANEL BLADOW

The cops and the community came together on the night of Aug. 1 for a free evening of fun, games, safety tips, and even dancing in the street as part of the National Night Out Against Crime.

The annual family-friendly event drew around 200 people to the Seaport District festivities down on Fulton Street, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Corporation. Residents got to chat with their local law enforcement officers from Downtown’s First Precinct while everyone relaxed and had fun.

“This is a great chance to meet our police and transit officers,” said neighbor Christina McLeod, who was on hand for the second year in a row with her husband Dan and children Hudson, 5, and Aria, 3. “The kids loved meeting the police doggie and got to become junior officers.”

Officer Darwin, a 3-year old Dutch Shepherd with Transit Department 2 posed for photos and pets with his partner, Officer Frank Verrico. They were a big hit with the kids.

Joining the police and neighbors were several local politicians, including state Sen. Daniel Squadon, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, and Councilmember Margaret Chin. Each presented outstanding service citations to Downtown’s police commanders — First Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Mark Iocco, and Capt. Rhonda O’Reilly of Transit Police District 2

Photo by Janel Bladow
The McLeod family — Dan, Christina, Aria, and Hudson — have attended Downtown’s National Night Out two years in a row.

“Getting these awards feels great,” said Capt. O’Reilly. “This is a great experience, coming together to keep our city safe.”

Also on hand were dozens of members of District 2’s auxiliary police, who volunteer their personal time to patrol subways Downtown.

This year marked the 34th year of the National Night Out Against Crime. Thousands of communities across all 50 states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide took part by hosting block parties, festivals, parades, and cookouts, all in an effort to build ties between police and the residents they protect, and to reclaim the twilight hours for family-friendly fun. But this was only the second year the event was celebrated Downtown.

Some kids sat for face-painting or caricatures, others danced to music from classic rock station Q1043. The free hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snowcones were a hit with everyone.

But it was the coming together of the community and its police that made the party a success according to one of the sponsors.

“It is important to us that we support the NYPD for the tremendous work they do for our community,” said HHC executive vice president Saul Scherl. “Our goal is to extend a special ‘Thank you’ to the NYPD and all who help make our community here in Lower Manhattan such an amazing and safe place to live, work and play.”

Photo by Janel Bladow
Councilwoman Margaret Chin, center, presents Council proclamations to, left to right, Commanding Officer of the First Precinct, Deputy Inspector Mark Iocco; Capt. Rhonda O’Reilly of Transit Police District 2; First Precinct Community Council President and Community Board 1 Chairman Anthony Notaro; and two members of the Transit Police District 2 Auxiliary.

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