This year’s celebrations will kick off Tuesday, Aug. 2.
“It’s a way for the community to get to know law enforcement and emergency personnel,” said Deputy Randall Watkins of Patterson Police Services. “Without community support, we’re just banging our heads against the wall.”
While Grayson will host one big event at the United Community Center, 8900 Laird St., Patterson will host five neighborhood events at various locations throughout the city. A caravan of Patterson police, fire and ambulance personnel will start at El Solyo Village, at 6 p.m. and end up at the Heartland Ranch home of Mayor Luis Molina at 8:30 p.m. Along the way, they will make stops at the Hammon Senior Center and California Child Care Development building.
“The common goal of the community is to take our streets back,” Watkins said, adding that most citizens’ encounters with law enforcement tend to be negative, either as a victim of a crime or in the form of a traffic ticket. “This is a positive way to interact with the public.”
Mayor Luis Molina, who will host an event at his house on Yellowhammer Drive, said relationships with neighbors are important and should be built up.
“I think it’s important that people get to know each other and look out for one another,” he said. “It goes back to establishing good relationships and trust, and you shouldn’t have to do that when there’s a crisis.”
Councilwoman Annette Smith, who will host the event at El Solyo Village, said she chose that location to focus on elder crime and abuse. The elderly of the community need to know what law enforcement and emergency personnel can provide for them, she said.
“There’s a lot of elder crime and financial crimes on elders,” she said. “The more information they can garner, the better off they are.”
Hammon Senior Center board member Linda Sandoval of Patterson will host events at the senior center and at the California Child Care Development Building in east Patterson.
“It a good opportunity for people to work together and meet,” she said. “After this, we’ll be ready to form Neighborhood Watch organizations.”
More than eight churches in Patterson also will be involved in the event, Sandoval said.
Further to the north, Helen Padilla-Pulido of Grayson has helped organize the Grayson National Night Out event.
“We’re going to let criminals know that we’re not going to put up with them,” she said. “We’re getting our neighbors to watch out for each other. We’re taking our neighborhoods back.”
The Grayson event will include sheriff’s deputies, an ambulance, clowns, music, food and dancing, Padilla-Pulido said.
n Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187 or email@example.com.