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First Responders, Residents Celebrate Festive Night Out
Probably the biggest, and maybe the noisiest, display presented by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, is the arrival of one of its helicopter units, flying into the basin at Silva Park in Crossroads, part of the National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Sheriff Jeff Dirkse and his wife Sandi arrived on the helicopter and welcomed members of the crowd at the edge of the basin, then watched as many more took the opportunity to look the helicopter over up close. Ric McGinnis/The News

Local first responders, city officials and community residents celebrated National Night Out in Riverbank on Tuesday, Aug. 1, with an evening gathering at Silva Park in Crossroads.

Held between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., Riverbank Police Services, which serves the town under a contract with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, organized the event, which brought a number of deputies to the park, showing off the equipment and skills of many of the units that report to the SO and are available as needed here.

Those on hand included the Bomb Disposal Unit, a K-9 Unit featuring Kano, patrol officers, police cars, trucks, motorcycles and more. A pair of deputies represented the mounted unit, with lots of attention given by youngsters to their horses. The SWAT team brought its armored vehicle, which also got a lot of views from the many families in attendance.

Another popular group was the Tactical Culinary Unit, which prepared and served free hot dog dinners to attendees. At times, the lines for hot dogs stretched out across the event area.

Firefighters also were part of the evening’s festivities, with tours of trucks offered and the firefighters enjoying the chance to meet and visit with residents. Multiple city staffers attended as well.

In addition to the displays brought by first responders, a number of the children enjoyed the use of some of the regular equipment in the park.

Groups of parents and youngsters, even including a grandparent or two, enjoyed rousing games of ping pong on the permanent outdoor tables at hand. Other families made use of the playground equipment in the park, from swings to slides and other items to climb on.

They also got to play in two bounce houses provided.

And a group of younger men played basketball on the half-court facility there.

A big boost to the celebration came about an hour in, when a Sheriff’s Department helicopter flew over the park. Night Out celebrants might have assumed they were just going to do the flyover, but instead swung around and approached from the east, landing in the larger basin in the park.

Those watching the landing were kept back at the upper edge of the basin for safety, and were surprised to notice two passengers get out after the rotors stopped. Turned out, it was Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse and his wife Sandi. They came over to the bottom edge of the basin and took time to speak with families who were there. Then, folks swarmed the helicopter, checking it out, top to bottom.

After about 45 minutes, the air crew took off again, to go participate in another NNO event somewhere else in the Sheriff’s Department jurisdiction.

In addition to the city personnel and first responder participants, people from Menchie’s Yogurt Shop brought some of their cool treats to give away, and both local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts units had displays for those interested in learning more about those organizations.

Riverbank Mayor Richard D. O’Brien chats with Stanislaus sheriff’s deputies and Zenet Negron, Senior Field Representative for State Senator Susan Eggman’s office, after presentation of a certificate recognizing First Responders at the Aug. 1 National Night Out at Silva Park in Crossroads. The certificate recognized the group for their commitment and dedication to building community public safety in the area. Ric McGinnis/The News
In addition to all the displays by different first responder organizations, the National Night Out observance also provided opportunities for patrons to partake of the regular facilities at Silva Park, where it was held, on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Facilities at the park include two outdoor ping pong tables, where parents, even grandparents, and children played, the permanent playground equipment including slides, basketball courts, and, as an added feature of the day, a couple of bounce houses for youngsters to play in. Ric McGinnis/The News
A deputy from Riverbank Police Services demonstrates cornhole technique as part of the fun and games available at the National Night Out in Silva Park on Tuesday, Aug. 1. There was free food and snacks, along with displays by community groups. Ric McGinnis/The News