Upcoming National Night Out Takes on Added Significance Following Shooting of Two San Diego Officers

Published : Friday, July 29, 2016 | 5:23 AM

Collage above depicts scenes from National Night Out events in Pasadena in 2014 and 2015

Last night’s shooting of two San Diego Police officers in the wake of incidents in Dallas and Baton Rouge wraps next Tuesday’s National Night Out police/community block parties in special significance.

The August 2 event is an annual affair and, as its name would suggest, observed by police departments throughout the country. Pasadena police have 14 neighborhood get togethers scheduled.

“This year’s event is especially important with the recent rash of shootings that we’ve had in the last few weeks,” Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said Thursday, prior to last night’s attack in San Diego which killed one officer and wounded a second. “It’s important every year for the police department to participate and for the community to host us so that our interaction with them is no different than in years past.”

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez encountered this banner for National Night Out in King's Villages yesterday and posted this picture to his Twitter account.

In response to the earlier shootings in Texas and Louisiana, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez ordered the Department into a “modified deployment” strategy that  has put two officers in police cruisers during the night and morning watch shifts.

“We’re also deploying outreach officers,” Sanchez said at the time. “We believe the community message of calm and reasonable behavior in light of these tragedies is just as important as the enforcement part.”

Meantime, Pasadena residents have been donating care packages bearing food and messages of support during what is a trying time for the nation’s law enforcement community.

“The Pasadena Police Department has received countless positive phone calls, text messages and emails expressing gratitude and support,” Sanchez said.

Fourteen different National Night Out events are scheduled in Pasadena next Tuesday evening, starting with opening ceremonies in Washington Park at 5:30 p.m.

Jaylene Mosely, President of the Flintridge Center, told Pasadena Now that the trouble in the streets of other American cities highlights the necessity for everyone “to work on developing our relations with the police and among ourselves.”

The Pasadena Police Department, she said, “really works hard at outreach with numerous strategies. We are fortunate to have a police department that focuses on, and prioritizes, their outreach.”

A recent survey revealed an approval rating of 78 percent for the Pasadena police. Gourdikian said “that’s because we’ve made so many deposits incrementally within our community over the last two decades that we have high stock.”

Pasadena is large and diverse enough that there are voices of a dissident kind.

There are those who say police outreach – whether National Night Out or something else – misses the communities that need it most, such as Northwest Pasadena, but Gourdikian said most of the department’s National Night Out events are being held there.

Still, said District 1 Councilmember Tyron Hampton in an interview, more is required.

“They’re doing an okay job. They need to do proper outreach on a regular basis. That’s why they do things like National Night Out,” Hampton said.

Established in 1984, Gourdikian describes the event as “the one time a year that the community actually hosts events, or block parties, that bring out their neighbors to mingle with police and establish or reaffirm existing relationships.”

Gourdikian said one of the larger events will be at Kings Villages featuring a block party in between Fair Oaks Avenue and Mountain where, “several hundred people from the Northwest come out and participate.”

Pasadena’s National Night Out kick-off event will begin at 5:00 p.m. at Washington Park, (700 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena).

First responders will then spread out throughout Pasadena joining various neighborhood block parties being held in the city. This national event is an excellent opportunity to form long-term bonds between police, fire and the community, organizers said.

Everybody is welcome, police say.

For information regarding the kick-off event or the locations of neighborhood block parties being held in your area, please contact Pasadena Police Community Services at 626-744-4550.

For more,  click here.







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