COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – At a time when relations are still strained between police and some communities, the Colonie Police Department hosted their annual Night Out on Tuesday to create a closer bond with residents.
“Anytime we can give back to the community, help the community, it’s definitely better for us in holding those strong bonds and relationships throughout the community,” Mike Woods, Chief of Police Town of Colonie, said.
The event offered free demos and food, along with other activities like exploring police vehicles. James Gerace, Deputy Chief of the Town of Colonie Police Department, said the whole goal of having the event is for everyone to get to know law enforcement more on a personal level and not just when there are emergencies.
“Get all the families together, all the community together, for the police to just show them our human side,” he said. “And have a really good time seeing the people in this environment. It works out great for us; we love it.”
Margaret Mason attended the event for the first time with her family.
“It’s very community-oriented,” she said. “There are lots of people out, which is really good to see. And there’s lots of police presence coming and interacting with everybody. Which I think is great.”
While some school districts like Bethlehem and Shenendehowa no longer offer D.A.R.E., police in Colonie said the program will continue in their school district, and the program still receives positive feedback from both students and families.
Organizers also said these community events are important so residents can also get the chance to learn more about the resources police have to offer, like free CPR classes.
“We try to bring EMS because we have a close working relationship with EMS,” James Gerace, Deputy Chief of the Town of Colonie Police Department, said. “You know, it can save a life someday if somebody learns CPR from this event. So it’s really important for us that we make those connections.”