Belleville looking toward ‘biggest’ National Night Out ever

The Belleville Police Department, Mayor Michael Melham and the Township Council are planning a night of family, fun and food to celebrate a nationwide event aimed at strengthening ties between police officers and the neighborhoods they serve.

All residents are invited to National Night Out at Municipal Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 5-9 p.m.

There will be music, games and bouncy rides, plus a touch-a-truck experience that will allow children of all ages to see some amazing equipment up close.

Food trucks will be serving treats for sale and more than 20 vendors will also be on hand.

National Night Out in Belleville will be capped by a special fly-over by a New Jersey State Police Helicopter.

“We are so excited to make this the biggest National Night Out celebration we’ve ever had in Belleville,” Melham said. “This is the perfect opportunity for families to come out, enjoy fun music, great food and spend time with friends, new and old. Most of all, it is the ideal setting to connect with the brave men and women of the Belleville Police Department — the ones who keep us safe and secure each and every day.”

National Night Out has grown exponentially since its beginnings in the 1970s in a Philly suburb, where neighbors observed the night by sitting out in front of their homes with their porch lights on.

By the time the first annual National Night Out was observed in 1984, 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states participated. It grew even bigger over the decades as the inclusion of local law enforcement became a component of the annual event.

Now, the first Tuesday in August is set aside each year for municipalities in every state to cook burgers, host parades, sponsor live concerts and, most importantly, build relationships with Belleville’s finest.

Although the Belleville Police Department is active in many community-wide events ranging from bike rides to the popular “Pizza with a Cop” program, National Night Out offers a unique opportunity to build lasting relationships.

“We are dedicated to building a strong bond with the residents we serve,” Belleville Police Chief Mark Minichini said. “National Night Out is special because not only do we get to meet a lot of the residents, but you can feel that sense of community grow. We and our fellow first responders in Belleville look forward to seeing everyone.”

Anyone wishing to host a block party or gathering for National Night Out is asked to call Anthony Abate of the Belleville Police Department’s Community Relations Unit at (973) 450-3348.

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