BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ The Bernards Township police department is again hosting its own community version of National Night Out, with the event scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Astor Field, located between Ridge High School and the municipal complex.
Demonstrations and displays of vehicles by Bernards Township police, Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner fire cos. and first aid squads, Somerset County SWAT and k-9 units and more local organizations are expected to be on hand. A free outdoor movie, Disney's "CoCo," is on tap to be shown at 8:30 p.m. Those who wish to see the movie should bring their own blanket or lawn chair.
A poster outlining all details of the event is posted online. Parking will be offered at Ridge High School, 268 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge. "Sweet treats" will be sold, the webpage says.
Bernards revives event for the first time in many years
Bernards Township's participation in the nationwide event is returning this summer for the first time in several years.
"Here in Bernards, we are fortunate to have a very wonderful relationship with our citizenry and are hoping to create one more opportunity to connect, as well as be able to talk one-on-one with residents about quality of life topics specific to our township," said Police Chief Michael Shimsky.
"We are excited about holding National Night Out next week," the chief said. "The event has historically been proven to be very positive and successful and is a priority for this administration," said Shimsky, who was just appointed as the chief of the Bernards Township police force earlier this year.
Shimsky said in an email that one of the department’s newly stated objectives was to participate in "programs that will keep the barriers removed between our police department and the public."
A few months ago, Shimsky said local police held "Coffee With a Cop" at Ridge High School. "We hope to expand this to local coffee shops in the coming months." Police have also been making the effort of keeping the public informed through the weekly police blotter, he said.
National Night Out is a program held nationwide _ and beyond _ for the past 35 years. Originally set up to try to take back communities from criminals as well as to connect police with residents, the program now has evolved into "an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live," according to the National Night Out website.
"National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community," the website sayd. "Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances."