It’s less than a week away. On August 6, 2019, Barnegat joins thousands of municipalities across the nation as it celebrates its first National Night Out.  The Barnegat Police Department’s participation in the event focuses on building strong partnerships with community members and those who provide their protection.

Barnegat’s National Night Out is hosted by Barnegat PBA 296.  Detective James Purcell serves as the Local's president and is also the Township’s community police officer.

“The goal of the event is to bring the community together,” shared Purcell. “As people get to know each other and the police, they build networks that make neighborhoods safer.”

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Purcell continued, “When people know their neighbors, they also recognize their habits.”

Wellness checks are among the many tasks assigned to local law enforcement agencies. Neighborhood tips often lead to crime prevention and apprehension of criminal suspects.

Barnegat’s National Night Out – Rain or Shine

National Night Out starts at 6 pm at Barnegat High School. While events are planned for outdoors, everything will be moved inside if it rains.

According to Purcell, local businesses have committed to giving back to the community.  For example, both Wawa and Acme have donated food.

Lefty’s Tavern will be on hand cooking for the event. “They arranged on their own for food donations,” said Purcell.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the promise of free food that should bring people together. A live DJ will play music, and all will have a chance to get close-up views of an assortment of emergency response vehicles.  

Many local vendors plan to set up and provide activities and giveaways geared to both children and adults. Community members don’t have to worry about paying for the evening of fun. It’s entirely free, with one exception. Attendees may want to have cash on hand for the sole attraction that acts as a fundraiser.

Donations are required to take a swing in the dunk tank challenge. Two local community leaders have agreed to alternate and put themselves at risk for the drop into the cold tank of water. For now, it’s a toss-up on whether Police Chief Keith Germain or Superintendent of Schools Brian Latwis will come out more drenched.

At 8pm, the festivities continue as all are invited to focus on the big screen for a surprise movie.

National Night Out – A Tradition

The history of National Night Out dates back to the formation of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1981.  It began as the result of the efforts of an individual who believed in community watch programs working in cooperation with local police.

In 1984, the NATW introduced the first National Night Out program. Over 400 communities in 23 states came together with over 2.5 million neighbors.

National Night Out’s mission is to promote strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live and work.

Barnegat joins the list as one of 250 New Jersey communities offering National Night Out events. Nationally, over 16 thousand communities and 38 million neighbors will also get together on August 6th to strengthen their ties.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at