BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- Bloomfield’s National Night Out was cut short by rain and lighting just before the headlining band ‘Total Soul’ was able to play, but residents who came by early were treated to free food, amusements, souvenirs, and made special memories.

Started in 1984, National Night Out is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch, and other anti-crime efforts. There were 27 off duty Police personnel--a combination of Officers, Police Aides, Auxiliary Officers and Civilian employees--at Foley Field to honor the mission of the annual event and interact with members of the community, especially the youth. There were also 15 off-duty Firefighters, many of whom participated in the annual Police vs. Fire Department softball game. Additionally, seven DPW employees worked the event, including two from the Electrical Department and five others who handled set up, garbage and recycling detail, and any other related maintenance needs, all of whom were there long after normal business hours.

“I want to thank the Bloomfield Police Department and Fire Department for their participation in this great annual event. Even though this year’s event was cut short due to bad weather, I was thrilled to see so many civilians -- especially kids -- get to meet the men and women who work every day to protect them,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “I would also like to thank the hard-working men and women at the Department of Public Works, and Parks and Recreation Director Michael Sceurman, who came to make sure there were great giveaways, food, bounce houses and various types of entertainment on the field for the kids to play on as well. We will continue to organize events throughout the year that bring police and community members together.”

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The entire evening was free to all that attended. All sodas, waters, cookies and ice were donated by Brookdale ShopRite and Pizzas were sold to us at a very discounted rate from Vinnie’s Pizzeria, Parkside Pizzeria and Angelos Pizzeria.

“We were pleased to provide Free Child ID cards to all that attended and we had many new giveaways for the community including glow sticks, glow sunglasses, glow rings, glow necklaces and bracelets,” said Director of Public Safety Samuel DeMaio. “Through our Community Policing Unit and Youth Aid Division, Bloomfield Police Officers get out in the community every day, and are here for Bloomfield residents. I appreciate all of the members of our department who gave their time during National Night Out to interact with the community.”

Many children and families were enjoying the bounce houses and amusements behind the football field, and eating the free pizza, but many also walked over to the softball field, to watch The annual Police vs. Fire Softball game, which ended with an 18-4 win by the Bloomfield Fire Department. It was the first time in four years since the start of the annual National Night Out softball game that the fire Department took the trophy from the Police.

“It's always great when we partner with other township departments, such as Police, Fire, EMS DPW and Board of Education, to bring people together. I think it shows our residents that we can all work well together for the betterment of the community,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Sceurman.