SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The 35th annual National Night Out was marked by police departments across the United States yesterday. National Night Out began in 1984 as a way to strengthen the bonds between the community and the police in their unified fight against crime as well as to improve the relationship between police officers and the people they serve.

A large number of Spotswood and Helmetta residents came to the Municipal Complex to enjoy National Night Out on August 7 hosted by the Spotswood Police Department despite the threatening skies. Dark clouds loomed right around the start time of the always popular, family-friendly event, but the thunder held off until the end of the evening.

Kids enjoyed boardwalk style games hosted by community and local businesses as well as cool giveaways like frisbees, snap bracelets, soccer key chains and more. The Spotswood PTA's sand art table attracted a lot of youngsters who had fun creating necklaces fashioned from colored sand. Long lines stretched around the Dunk Tank as kids and adults lined up to try and dunk a Spotswood police officer. Of course the bounce house and blowups were always busy with kids of all ages as parents watched nearby, chatting and catching up with friends and neighbors while music from DJ Wacky Wayne played in the background.

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Residents enjoyed pizza from Gennaro's, Italian ices, popcorn and more yummy treats though given the heat and humidity, the water bottles donated by the Spotswood ShopRite were probably the most sought after item of the night.

The pups from Husky House attracted a great deal of attention as many folks stopped by to enjoy petting the adorable puppies. The Spotswood Police Department partnered with Husky House, which is a husky and dog rescue and adoption shelter in Matawan, to make a 2018-19 calendar. The proceeds from the calendar sales went to support the Spotswood Municipal Drug and Alcohol Alliance as well as Husky House. The puppies in attendance yesterday were available for adoption.

The Spotswood Police officers all sported black t-shirts with Powers Promise on the back in support of the department's youngest officer, Trent Powers. Powers became a member of the Spotswood Police Department in March of 2017. The Helmetta toddler suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a rare and incurable disease that typically only affects males.

Powers Promise was created by the Powers' parents, Kim and Trevor, to promote awareness and education about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The organization also partners with other Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy organizations to help find a cure for the disease that impacts one in every 3,500 boys born every year. The Spotswood Police Department routinely holds fundraisers and events like the recent Volley for Duchenne fundraiser earlier this month to help support Powers Promise and their youngest member.

Last night's well-attended National Night Out was also a fundraiser for the Alice's CUP Food Pantry on Main Street. The Alice's CUP pantry feeds any Middlesex County resident in need. The SPD asked residents attending yesterday's event to bring a non-perishable food item for the pantry.