SUMMIT, NJ - It was an evening of education, entertainment and community involvement, as Summit's Police Department and Department of Community Programs celebrated National Night Out at the Village Green Tuesday night.
Representatives from a myriad of law enforcement, public safety, community groups, and emergency services agencies were framed by a live music performance, interactive activities and food booths, as Summit joined more than 15,000 communities nationwide in celebrating the 29th edition of the event. National Night Out was introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch in an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts.
There was a sense of engagement in the air as families toured the site, greeting and speaking with officers and officials, sitting in their vehicles, and learning how each group can work together to keep Summit safe. Children and adults were treated to a host of cover songs from The Exit Row Band, a stunt bicycle show from Chris Clark, hot dogs from the Police Athletic League (PAL) and a mix of food from local vendors, and an ice cream truck provided by Overlook Medical Center, among other activities.
Attendees had the opportunity to check out a customized Dodge Magnum, complete with "scissor doors", which is being donated to D.A.R.E. by Summit resident Jeff Kaufman and his family. Kaufman, whose two children both participated in the D.A.R.E. program, said, "The car is a beast, and children are attracted to it. If this gets just one child to talk to a police officer and that helps them avoid trouble, then it is worth it."
Summit Police Chief Robert Weck, adorned in board shorts and a T-shirt, enthusiastically stepped into the dunk tank where, for a donation, residents could toss a ball, hit a target, and watch The Chief get dropped into the water below. All proceeds from the dunk tank benefited Brooke Healey's ongoing battle against DPIG, a rare brain tumor. Healey is a four year-old girl from New Providence.