UNION CITY — A week from today the Union City Police Department will be holding its 16th annual night out in Caflisch Park from 6 to 8 p.m.
The purpose of the nationwide event is to heighten crime and drug-prevention awareness, generate support for anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and community partnerships with police and firefighters.
The event is held each year on the first Tuesday in August and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.
“It’s become a staple in the community,” Union City Police Chief David Pernice said of last year’s event. “We’re a small community and we usually get about 500 people to come out. That’s about one-sixth of our overall population. I think that’s pretty impressive.”
One of the goals of National Night Out is to give people — especially children — the chance to meet uniformed police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians in a nonthreatening situation.
This year’s event will feature free food — hot dogs, chips and a drink — a gift auction and a bike giveaway, according to borough Secretary Cindy Wells.
“We receive lots of donations from local businesses. The event is being hosted by the police department, United Way and Family Support Center,” Wells said.
The sawdust prize pit will be back this year as well. Children will have the chance to scour through the sawdust and find prizes.
“Overall, my favorite aspect of National Night Out is watching all the kids have a good time,” Pernice said before last year’s event. “But I really do love the bike giveaway. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces when they win a bike is great. I look forward to that part every year.”