Gilroy hosts annual National Night Out

A dance troupe performs Tuesday evening during the annual National Night Out festivities in downtown Gilroy.Photo: Nicholas Preciado

The Gilroy Police Department was out in full force Tuesday evening for National Night Out, an annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make communities safer, better places to live.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and Gilroy Fire Department were also present. It was the third annual National Night Out event in Gilroy.

“Being a cop nowadays is not an easy thing to do,” said GPD Chief Denise Turner, as she addressed the crowd. “It’s a dangerous job, but you know what? With the support of you all, it says to my police officers and to myself that you care about us and that we can work together to solve our community issues.”

Community members mingled with law enforcement officers and public safety personnel on Fifth Street between Monterey Road and Eigleberry Street. Community organizations like the Rotary Club and Santa Clara County Public Health participated in a resource fair and lined the street with booths.

Face painting, bounce houses, and games kept the kids entertained, while adults rushed to get tickets for the raffle.

Police vehicles were on display, including a Sheriff’s Department boat.

City Councilmembers Daniel Harney and Roland Velasco came onstage to thank the community for coming out.

“I’m sure all of you can agree it’s more important than ever to show our community solidarity toward our police officers and our fire teams,” Harney said. “These are the teams that stand behind us 24 hours a day to make Gilroy a safe place.”

“This is a great opportunity for our young people to meet the law enforcement community,” Velasco said. “It’s a night to turn on your porch light and light up our entire neighborhoods and let people know that crime will not be tolerated. It’s a night to come out and enjoy each other’s presence in celebration.”

National Night Out was created in 1984 with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice. The event always takes place on the first Tuesday in August. In addition to National Night Out events in cities across the country, it also happens in some Canadian cities, as well as military bases around the world.

The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, a nationwide organization committed to the development, maintenance, and protection of community-based, crime-prevention activities.