The city’s police, firefighters and leadership celebrated Pasadena’s resilience and sense of community by gathering outside in neighborhoods around the city Tuesday for the annual “National Night Out” event.
Pasadena’s event kicked off in Villa Parke with Mayor Victor Gordo, Police Chief John Perez, Fire Chief Chad Augustine, and City Manager Steve Mermell, along with members of City Council, who gathered to meet and interact with neighborhood residents.
“There is nothing more important annually than this,” said Pasadena Police Chief John Perez, adding, “It’s a chance for us to truly, truly connect with the residents of this city.”
Perez continued, “They have the opportunity to ask us questions, and it’s a really neat night for people to get to know us.”
The event was canceled last year due to Safer at Home orders put in place to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo also acknowledged the City’s work in combating the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “It’s always important to remind ourselves that it takes all of us working together to stay safe together. It’s important to see each other and ensure that we are all working together.”
At the Villa Parke kickoff event, police volunteers held a community barbeque, with food served at no cost.
A mobile command post and at least 10 information tables from various city departments and organizations will also be set up to provide resources, outreach and educational materials to community members,
“It really connects the community,” said City Manager Steve Mermell. “In Pasadena we bring out our police department, our fire department so they understand these are the public servants that are here to keep you safe and to protect you in these very difficult times when we’re going through COVID lockdowns and everyone is stressed out. It’s important now more than ever to re-establish a sense of community.”
The nationwide event, meant to highlight the work of local police departments, has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States.
It began simply with neighbors turning on their porch lights and sitting in front of their homes, involving 2.5 million residents across 400 communities in 23 states.
The event, now in its 38th year, involves citizens in all 50 states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide, and is a police-community partnership event, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW).
The Tuesday event is Perez’ last such event after a 30-year plus career with the police department, as he will be retiring at the end of this year.
This has been his favorite part of work with the police, said Perez. “It’s meeting people and breaking bread with them, and for us to really understand each other and just have honest conversation.”
Pasadena’s event took place in 16 locations across the city, from San Rafael to the Upper Hastings Ranch area.