The decades-old tradition of bringing police and community members together during National Night Out each summer has been precluded by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Pasadena first responders plan to move the tradition online for a virtual town hall meeting they’ve dubbed National Night In.
The event will be held via Zoom from 5-6:30 p.m. Aug. 4. National Night Out has been observed nationally on the first Tuesday in August, organizers said.
“The virtual town hall will highlight our community’s commitment to crime prevention and our dedication to promoting a higher quality of life to all our residents,” Pasadena city officials said in a written statement.
Scheduled participants include Police Chief John Perez, Interim Fire Chief Bryan Frieders, Mayor Terry Tornek and City Manager Steve Mermell.
Despite not being able to meet in-person, “We didn’t want to lose the opportunity to connect with our community,” Perez said.
Especially now, amid the challenges created by the pandemic and during a time of social change and reforms, it is crucial to have some type of event to connect with city residents, the chief said.
“People want to hear from us,” Perez said. “People want to see what we are doing.” He added that officials will use the forum to “answer as many questions as we can.”
The National Night In event is intended to be the first of many online interactions with the community in the near future, Perez said.
Officials plan to discuss the Police Department’s new iPrevention program, which seeks to leverage technology to forge better communication and relationships between police and residents as part of the “next generation of policing,” the chief said.
“This is also another strategy for the community and the Police Department to connect on a lot of issues,” he said.
In addition to allowing officials and the public to share information and concerns about crime prevention and deterrence, the program will also provide a platform for online neighborhood watch meetings, according to Perez.
The national organizers of National Night Out said in a written statement that the group was “strongly recommending” that all in-person National Night Out events be postponed until the first Tuesday of October, which falls on Oct. 6.
Perez said that, conditions permitting, the police department will hold a National Night Out event in October, as well.
While the chief said that not being able to hold the annual in-person event is a loss, “This is an opportunity to stay connected and meet new friends.”
The meeting can be accessed online at us02web.zoom.us/j/82726840699 by using the Webinar ID 827 2684 0699. Those wishing to listen only can call into the meeting by phone at (669) 900-6833.
Space is limited, and those interested in participating are encouraged to sign in early.