National Night Out Events Held Throughout the Area

Glendale residents Mauricio Busquets and son Tristan, 18 months old, is all eyes looking at the hook-and-ladder fire truck at Nibley Park during NNO festivities on Tuesday night.
Photo by Ruth SOWBY

By Mary O’KEEFE, Melody SCOTT, Ruth SOWBY and Mikaela STONE  

On Tuesday, communities greeted and met with members of safety personnel in a fun and casual manner.

Throughout the nation, neighborhood residents gathered to meet their local law enforcement and safety personnel as part of National Night Out (NNO). Held since the 1970s, NNO is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. According to its website, NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a sense of community. It also provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. took part in the annual event hosting several information booths and handing out more than 500 free hot dogs.

Held on Tuesday night, Aug. 1, the station had representatives from public safety including LASD, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Forest Service with Smokey Bear and LA County Fire Dept. Montrose Search and Rescue team members were on hand to talk to people and answer questions.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was well-represented as was the LA County Disaster Communications Service. In addition there were booths representing organizations and businesses that support the community including several non-profits and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It was a family event with lots of free treats and games to play, including a game of water balloon toss that partnered deputies with kids. In the end everyone got splashed but all were happy for the cool off.

In the Sparr Heights area, several hundred residents gathered for NNO activities. This was the fifth year Sparr Heights resident Ron Scott and his committee of ambassadors organized this event, which gets bigger and better each year. Highlights included “Public Service Bingo,” a game helping kids to interact with police, police Explorers, and fire personnel on-site, a wiffle ball game, food trucks, face painting and a DJ spinning tunes. Glendale Mayor Dan Brotman stopped by for a visit as did representatives from other local organizations.  

This event is only one of the events organized by “Sparr Heights Connect and Prepare,” a grassroots organization that works to help neighbors stay safe and ready in the event of a major disaster.

In Sunland-Tujunga, Bolton Hall was buzzing with volunteers from community organizations eager to support first responders and the community they serve with an emphasis in the arts. The volunteers of Art and Education Nation provided face painting and a leather bracelet making station for the children who attended. One volunteer offered her time to both the Tujunga and Sunland events in one night, while another had been so impassioned for the Tujunga area that she had commuted from Woodland Hills to attend the NNO event at Bolton Hall.

The group Artists For a Better World showed their support by having an art table with crayons and pages for children to color while promoting their belief that art unites people. Community members at Bolton Hall enjoyed the music of local band Bandit that played a tribute to 9/11 first responders in honor of the assembled providers of emergency services. Groups including the Elks Riders, the American Legion and Auxiliary, and the Tujunga Neighborhood Council offered food to the people present and reminded them of their united goal – a safe and welcoming community.

“All [who assembled at National Night Out] have similar programs, so if we come together we’re all more powerful,” said American Legion and Auxiliary volunteer Rebecca Valdivia.

For the LAPD and LACoFD, this meant helping the community to feel more comfortable when calling for help. When asked what the assembled department’s goal was, Firefighter Evan McDevitt, who was in the process of letting children try on his protective gear, responded, “To show face and answer questions.”

“The pizza truck broke down!”  That news broke at the beginning of Rossmoyne Mountain Homeowners Association’s 12th annual NNO. But realtor Chris Cragnotti saved the day. He provided pizza for all – with a limit of two slices for each of the more than 200 attending the neighborhood picnic at Nibley Park in Glendale. Free ice cream sundaes were provided by realtor Dave Robles.  

But enough about the food.  NNO folks at Nibley Park were also treated to a family-friendly movie (“Matilda”), face-painting, a canine demonstration, raffles, police cars and a hook-and-ladder fire truck with lights ablazin’. Glendale City Council member Ara Najarian said he never misses an NNO if he can help it. 

“Tonight fosters the bond between neighborhoods and the local police department,” said Najarian.

Fostering that bond is what NNO is all about and on Tuesday night local residents responded positively to that opportunity.

Photos by Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Ken HERFT Jr., Mary O’KEEFE, Ruth SOWBY and Mikaela STONE  

Additional photos by Pat KRAMER

Cheryl Schmidt and Pat Kramer
Photos by Pat KRAMER
Elian, Brandon and Elly Mayorga
Fire truck at Bolton Hall festivities.
Jon and Karen von Gunten
LAPD Traffic Officer Venegas
Nina Royal and LAPD Cpt. Bennett and Officers