OBSERVER Staff Report
On Tuesday, the city of Dunkirk will be joining 30 million other citizens from over 9,000 communities nationwide in celebrating National Night Out. This is the 19th year that the Dunkirk Police Department is sponsoring Night Out in the city.
National Night Out is designed to give strength to neighborhood crime and drug prevention efforts and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and not afraid to fight back.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Dunkirk Police Department patrolmen Chris Witkowski (left) and Matt Martinez (right) flank Mayor Anthony J. Dolce and Police Chief David Ortolano as the city’s National Night Out banner is unveiled.
"Our National Night Out program is directly correlated to our neighborhood watch programs that are active throughout the community. On Tuesday, citizens in Dunkirk will be locking their doors, turning their lights on and spending the evening with their neighbors, police officers, firefighters and city officials. We encourage everyone to come to Washington Park," Police Chief David Ortolano explained. "Our coordinators will be working together on this event and we ask that anyone who can assist to please come to Washington Park before the event begins to help with set up. Also, as in the past, we also appreciate anyone who can to bring a dessert to pass. The coordinators, who are the same dedicated citizens who work on our neighborhood watch program, donate a tremendous amount of time and work to this program every year, my hat is off to them as they make it all happen. The coordinators, along with the support of the local businesses who donate to our program, truly make Night Out the success that it is."
The Police Department will be at Washington Park during the evening with patrol cars, bicycles, McGruff the crime dog and the K-9 unit.
"Everyone from our senior citizens down to small children will have the opportunity to meet and interact with our police officers," Ortolano stated. "This emphasizes the importance of the police-community partnership and pride in the community. Also participating again this year will be the Dunkirk Fire Department. The Fire Department has joined forces with us and their participation is a huge success, it is important to show that we all are committed to making our community a safe place.
"The interaction between the police officers, firefighters, city officials and community residents build positive relationships that will benefit the entire community."
The program will conclude with a movie in the park. "Cars 2" will be presented through the Development Department's Movies in the Park program.
"We will have picnic tables to sit on or you can bring a blanket or lawn chair to the park to sit on and enjoy the movie," Ortolano said. "Members of the Jamestown Ironmen North American Hockey team will be visiting during the night and there will be music by Andy & Nick."
The event is set to start at 6:30 p.m. and coordinators welcome any help in setting and cleaning up.
Washington Avenue will be barricaded between Fifth and Sixth streets and Fifth Street will be barricaded from Washington Avenue to Park Avenue to allow those attending Night Out a place to park. There is also parking in the surrounding area around Washington Park.
The chief reminded parents to attend the program with their children and not send them alone.
"This program in devised to show the children the importance of the community working together. A strong partnership within the community is our strongest weapon in keeping the community safe," he stated. "It only takes a few minutes of time to get out and get involved and make a difference in the community. We have seen a very large change in the program over the years and more families are becoming involved. That is what this program is all about."
Sponsors include Tops Markets, WalMart, Privitera Farms, Express Printing, Southpaw Signs, P&G Foods, Paper Factory, Petri Baking, Midtown Realty, Pepsi, McDonalds Restaurant and Piede Tents. Blasdell Pizza is donating pizza for the city's Night Out this year. Ortolano had a special thank you for Blasdell and the rest of the sponsors and people who contribute to the success of this community event.
"The Police Department and Night Out Committee would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support and dedication over the years. Without them we would not enjoy the success we have," Ortolano stated. "A special thanks to WDOE/96KIX FM, Access 12, the OBSERVER, the city administration, and our DPW and Parks Departments for all their support over the years. Also, a thank you to Gary Haase from Dunkirk Little League.
"We are truly lucky to have the entire community take part in this event. We will continue to make a difference one neighborhood at a time."
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