The Voorhees Township Police Department, along with various other emergency responders, elected officials, vendors and more, celebrated the annual community-building National Night Out Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Connolly Park.
The National Association of Town Watch, founded in 1981, was established as a way to provide community watch groups with “the necessary information, resources and assets to stay informed, interested, involved and motivated within the community.”
Three years later in 1984, National Night Out was introduced in August to better connect neighborhoods and their respective police departments and other emergency responders. The first celebration, according to the website, involved 2.5 million community members across 400 communities in 23 states. Since then, the annual celebration has spread to every state and territory in the United States.
At the annual event for Voorhees, police officers and other emergency responders met with residents and community members in the continued effort to form a meaningful partnership between the community and law enforcement.
Voorhees Police Chief Louis Bordi was in attendance, just one of the many police officers and first responders meeting with the community.
“There’s probably something like 30 police officers here tonight,” said Bordi. “All of our different bureaus and divisions are here, from operations to the administration, the K-9 unit, the traffic unit, detectives and, of course, our community affairs officers are in charge of this event. So our entire department is well represented here.”
As expected, a demonstration of the department’s various K-9s, with assistance from young Voorhees residents, was once again a big hit on the night.
“The K-9 unit demonstration is usually the highlight of (National Night Out), it’s always well attended by residents,” said Bordi.
Additionally, officers were showing off department equipment and vehicles.
As Bordi says, the department looks forward to the event each and every year since Voorhees hosted its first National Night Out event, now five years ago.
“It’s just one of the many things we do to make connections with the community in positive ways and gain support for our department and town,” said Bordi. “It’s a partnership; if something bad were to happen, you want those relationships in place already, and that’s what this is all about – building relationships.”
Mayor Michael Mignogna was in attendance to show support for the various vendors, law enforcement personnel and first responders during the night, saying that such an event shows the true community feel that Voorhees has been able to develop over the years.
“It’s become a great opportunity for our residents to meet, gather and interact with our police officers, our fire department, our first responders in an informal way,” said Mignogna. “Every year it gets bigger and better (in Voorhees Township), so I’m very proud of our police department for putting this together. It’s just as important for them to do things off-duty as it is on-duty.”