On Tuesday, the city of Dunkirk will be joining 30 million other citizens from more than 9,000 communities nationwide in celebrating National Night Out. This is the 20th 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.
"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," explained Police Chief David Ortolano. "Again this year we will have one centralized Night Out location at Washington Park. This will be the third year we have done the central location and we encourage everyone to come to Washington Park for the evening. Our coordinators will be working together on this event and we ask that anyone who can assist to please come to the Park before the event begins to help with set up. Also as in the past we also appreciate anyone who can to bring a desert to pass.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
Pictured with Mayor Anthony J. Dolce holding the sign for National Night Out 2013 are city of Dunkirk police officers Chris Witkowski, Mark Polowy, Mark Gruber and Adam Luce. The event is Tuesday in the city and nationwide.
"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 and McGruff the crime dog. Everyone from senior citizens to small children will have the opportunity to meet and interact with police officers, emphasizing 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," Ortolano stated. "As an added bonus, again this year we will have music by Nick and Andy and we have coordinated with the Department of Development to have the Movie in the Park series at dusk to cap off our Night Out event with a showing of Madagascar 3.
"This has been a great addition to the 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."
People from throughout the city are encouraged to attend the Washington Park event, which begins about 6:30 p.m. with the movie playing at dusk.
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 plenty of parking in the surrounding area around Washington Park.
"Again, as a reminder, the coordinators could use a little extra help and we ask anyone with a few minutes to show up a little early and help with set up or stay a few minutes afterwards and help with clean up. We also stress that parents do not send their children alone to the events, this program in devised to show the children the importance of the community working together," Ortolano said. "A strong partnership within the community is our strongest weapon in keeping the community safe. 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.
"The Dunkirk Police Department and Night Out Committee would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support and dedication over the years. Our many thanks to Tops Markets manager Ed Armstrong; WalMart manager Brad Balentine, Southpaw Signs and Cody Britton, P&G Foods and Gary and Patty Damico, Paper Factory with Bruce and Ann Mulkin, Save A Lot and Kevin Connelly, Midtown Realty and Bonnie Saletta, McDonalds Restaurant, G&E Tents and Bob Bankoski, Music by Nick&Andy, Blasdell Pizza and Mark Dulak and Awesome Bouncers and Jason Genovese.
"Many of these sponsors have donated services, food and refreshment items or financial support for our program, we could not have the success we do without their support. 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.
"We are truly lucky to have the entire community take part in this event and, we will continue to make a difference one neighborhood at a time."