A crowd estimated by the NYPD to be at least 600 strong packed Baisley Park in South Jamaica for National Night Out, a fun-filled event held on the first Tuesday of every August to promote positive relations between the police department and the community.
The sizzling array of hot dogs, hamburgers and other assorted edibles competed with the dazzling lineup of entertainment as the evening’s most popular attraction.
Perhaps the single largest group gathered around the “Dunk an Officer” tank, with members of New York’s Finest allowing themselves to get soaked to the skin for the cause.
Representatives of Kaisokah Moko Jumbies U.S.A., a crew of stiltwalkers who specialize in bringing a touch of the Caribbean to any event, stood head and shoulders above the crowd, while young dancers from the Jasper Performing Arts Center enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.
Audience members of all ages joined in as an energetic DJ invited them to come up to the open dance floor and do the wobble.
Public figures on hand to offer greetings included Borough President Melinda Katz, state Senate candidate Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica).
Among those joining them in the festivities were a large contingent representing South Jamaica’s Beckett family, who took in the action seated on a blanket, picnic-style.
“The police department is giving back to the community,” Latasha Beckett said. She wanted the younger members of the family to learn to “trust the police. There are good police officers out there. The police officers are not there to harm you.”
Sgt. Jo-Ann Gonzalez of 113th Precinct Community Affairs said, “It’s important for the kids to be involved with the cops and the community. They must come together to build that foundation.”