By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cops, Citizens Celebrate Festive Night Out
The bad guys scrambled for cover and the good guys came onto the streets to offer a welcome as a procession of police officers, firefighters and other emergency providers toured the town in the annual National Night Out event on Aug. 7.

Lights flashing, the stream of vehicles slowly wound their way through Riverbank in the early evening on Tuesday. They stopped at eight prearranged neighborhoods to chat, eat and socialize with the residents, work on establishing better relationships, and generally deter crime.

"It was a great evening and a good turnout," Police Chief Bill Pooley commented. "The event was well received. People came out of doors to meet neighbors they perhaps had never met before. Seems to me the event gets bigger every year."

Two of the neighborhood groups pulled out of their "block parties" ahead of time for reasons unknown. But they might have been affected by the event falling on the night before the reopening of school and the need to get the kids to bed at a healthy hour.

As it was, Community Service Officer Gina Reno and other organizers split the procession into two groups so they could spend more time in each neighborhood and still wrap it up by sundown.

Popular features of the group included Spec Ops of Oakdale who brought along their laser tag equipment to entertain the younger attendees and unloaded the inflatable black and yellow shields at every stop.

Motorcycle Officer Gary Vernon was demonstrating lights, siren and other equipment to an unending stream of grinning children plus a few adults eager to sit on his sleek yet powerful Yamaha bike, if only for a few minutes

Police dog Sam accompanied by his handler Deputy Marcie Matos had only to lie down, roll over and put his legs in the air to draw adoring crowds who wanted to make a fuss over this apparently amiable hound. But witnesses of Sam at work know he is fully capable of pulling down a fleeing suspect on the run or simply immobilizing him with terror at the thought of those sharp teeth.

Tuesday's event started outside the Karate for Kids self-defense school at Santa Fe and Fourth Street, where owner Scott Pettit served free hamburgers and hot dogs and Daryl Daniel from Sno white Drive In furnished ice cream.

The police procession moved on to the Riverbank Community Gardens at California Avenue and Eighth Street where city councilmember and Gardens founder Dotty Nygard, Diane Gonzales and helpers were dispensing food, good fellowship and cold drinks.

The third stop was in the Crossroads Shopping Center at Target, which with Home Depot has contributed to the event for several years in a row. Target set up its own show this year on the corner next to Squire Wells Road. Kohl's staff came outside too and Petco personnel brought out their giant pet snake and some other furry friends from within their store.

Other stopping points down the road included the Creekbend Court neighborhood, where local lasso artist Librado Ulloa again demonstrated his skills and residents rolled out tables of tasty homemade food; Mayor Virginia Madueno's home on Prescott Drive; and Allegience Court, where residents have put on an elaborate welcome for several years running.

City officials, members of the Sheriff's Team of Active Retired Seniors, and representatives of Target and Home Depot stores accompanied the procession giving out stuffed animals and other gifts to children.