PARSIPPANY, NJ - In the early evening of August 6th, many people in Parsippany-Troy Hills thought some fun was going to be cancelled by sudden rainfall. But eventually, as quick as it came, the sky cleared up and the first annual National Night Out was held at Smith Field.

All day long, over a thousand adults and kids came in and out of the area to celebrate and recognize the service men and woman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department. This same department hosted and organized the event, along with the Parsippany Police Athletic League (PAL).

National Night Out is an annual nationwide event that was started by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a non-profit organization that has, since 1981, promoted and supported crime prevention programs such as neighborhood watch groups, law enforcement agencies, state and regional crime prevention. The first National Night Out had been held in early August of 1984 as a way for towns and cities to show that their law enforcement were up-to-date and strong against any potential criminal threats and dangers. They also serve as a way for the public to learn about what the life and duties of police officers are like.

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According to the NATW website, National Night Out celebration involves over 38 million people from over 16,000 communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. And recently, Parsippany added itself to the national celebration.

“I’m really excited for National Night Out,” said Police Lieutenant Ron Carrozzino, who has been with the Parsippany police force for over 10 years. “Events like this are good because it brings the community close together. And anytime that we can show people that we’re not just enforcing laws, but helping the town is a great opportunity.”

In the past, National Night Out celebrations for Parsippany took place at the Mennen Arena in Morristown, with other police departments together. But now, township resident didn’t need to travel far to attend the fun. And this fun included free hot dogs and pizza, bean bag toss, raffle wheels, music by a D.J., Italian ice, face painting, carnival games and prizes, inflatable rides and bouncy houses. There was even a dunk tank where kids could dunk one of their local policemen!

Dozens of vendors were also set up for local groups and businesses, and for sponsors, such as WISE Animal Rescue, Orange Theory Fitness, ShopRite, the PBA Local 131, The Parsippany-Troy Hills Elks Lodge #2078, and Lakeland Hills Family YMCA.

“It feels great to have this National Night Out in our town,” said Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano.  “Parsippany is number one in all areas. And National Night Out is a celebration for all of Parsippany and a great celebration for all the men and women of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, and the staff and volunteers of the PAL. This is our first National Night Out and we will continue to have it and make sure it gets even better every year.”

There were also demonstrations of crime prevention, such as DWI simulations where attendants got to drive golf cart around traffic cones while wearing goggles designed to simulate intoxicated vision. Several fire trucks, ambulance and police vehicles were also present for tours and lectures. These vehicles were from various departments, including the Parsippany OEM, CERT, the Lake Hiawatha and Rainbow Lakes fire departments, Parsippany police, the Rockaway Neck Volunteer First Aid Squad, the Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance, and the Parsippany Rescue & Recovery Unit.

Furthermore, the biggest highlight of the event was when a black hawk helicopter landed on Smith Field. The vehicle was a UH72 Lakota model and flown over by the New Jersey National Guard AASF (Army Aviation Support Facility), from Lakehurst. Once they landed, families crowded around the helicopter to see the inside.

All activities at National Night Out were greeted with glee from all attendees, such as Parsippany resident Giuseppe Iannetta.

“I love National Night Out,” said Iannetta.

“I really liked the DWI test. It’s closest you can get to drunk driving legally. This whole event is personally good for the kids because it gets them out and keeps them busy. If they keep National Night Out going, it’s going to be a good thing in the long run.”

And indeed, National Night Out shall return to Parsippany and already local residents have marked their calendars to return next year.

To learn more about National Night Out and the NATW, visit their website at https://natw.org/.

For more information on the Parsippany Police Department and their latest activities, visit their website at http://www.parpolice.com/.

And for more information on the events and programs of the Parsippany PAL, visit their website at http://www.parsippanypal.org/.