As hundreds gathered to celebrate National Night Out in the 49th Precinct, one particular leader was singled out for his efforts in the fight against crime.
Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council, was honored with a commendation from city Comptroller John Liu, who praised his community service and his stellar reputation as a dedicated community servant in the neighborhoods that make up Community Board 11.
Just what National Night Out does to bring the community and the police closer together is self-evident, Thompson said from the stage at the August 7 event, held on the Pelham Parkway Mall near Barnes Avenue.
“It brings people together from all walks-of-life to connect with the police department, and the civilians working with police in community patrols and the auxiliary police,” said Thompson. “National Night Out shows that there are more law abiding citizens than there are criminals. This is a love affair between the police and community in the 49th Precinct.” During the annual night celebrating community triumph over crime, part of the Pelham Parkway mall was turned into something resembling an amusement park. Bounce rides dotting the green landscape as children ran through obstacle courses.
A fair amount of politicking by all four candidates in the Democratic primary for the 80th Assembly District went on. The band Just Nuts performed on the stage as part of the kickoff for Senator Jeff Klein’s Summertime Symphonies.
The 49th Precinct Color Guard kicked off the celebration as Allysha Blackman, 18, a graduate of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, sang the national anthem.
Also presented with a proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg highlighting his fine work was 49th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Jay Sturdivant.
“Getting this proclamation really makes me feel that what I do for the community really matters,” said Sturdivant said. “This is not the type of job where you always get a pat on the back, but this proclamation is that pat on the back.”
The neighboring 45th Precinct held its National Night Out at the venue it has used for previous years, the Section 5 Greenway in Co-op City.
More than 1,200 people turned out to support police and speak out against crime.
They enjoying downing about 700 free frankfurters, as well as seeing a movie sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and seniors performing a dance routine.
The annual event helps the community and police realize that they need one another, said 45th Precinct Community Council president Robert Bieder.
“The relationships between police and community has been strained over the years with things like lots of stop and frisk going on, and in many communities unfortunately, people are often afraid of the police,” said Bieder. “The night strengthens the bond between the police and the residents by having them spending time together, sharing experiences, having the police be available and letting everyone see that the police are people.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393