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National Night Out Crews Connect With Community
Mounted, patrol and volunteer officers from the local detachment of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department were on hand at last week’s National Night Out, to display and discuss department equipment and programs that benefit local residents. Also there were members of the River Rescue Unit, Motorcycle Patrol and the S.T.A.R.S. organization. Firefighters from Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department were on hand as well. Ric McGinnis/The News

It could have been the heat, it could have been the excessive smoke in the air, or it just could have been the fact that it was the evening just before the first day of school.

Maybe it was all three, but the conspiracy of conditions was evident in the light turnout for what has, in the past, been a busy community get-together, the local edition of National Night Out. It’s a country-wide evening set aside for public service organizations to make themselves available to residents to answer questions and get to know each other.

Nationwide, millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August.

Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more.

Here in Riverbank, authorities used to split up into as many as three groups at times, traveling to local neighborhoods where they were hosted by Neighborhood Watch groups, displaying their equipment and answering citizen’s questions.

Several years ago, organizers decided it would be more effective to concentrate all the personnel, equipment and resources in one location, with the population coming to them. National Night Out has been hosted locally at Riverbank’s Community Center Park for the past few years.