The nature of their profession often puts public safety personnel in contact with residents under adverse circumstances.
To help improve relations between the public and law enforcement, and to educate the community about safety and the jobs of the police department and first responders, Brigantine joined a nationwide campaign three summers ago called National Night Out.
While one of its goals is crime prevention, a major objective of National Night Out is to show communities the everyday side of its police, fire and emergency-response teams.
Coordinated by police Capt. Rob Rubino and Sgt. Brian Feehan, National Night Out will be held 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, at the 26th Street recreational fields. The evening will be full of fun activities and live demonstrations, all of it free and open to the public.
There will be complimentary hot dogs, burgers, pizza, popcorn and beverages donated by local merchants, and capping the evening will be the Disney movie “Moana” starting 8 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring beach chairs.
The police and fire departments and the beach patrol will be joined by representatives of a couple dozen local, state and county organizations. Many are associated with the fields of public safety, such as the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, the State Marine Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the county SWAT team.
“The Police Department coordinates it, but we get all the public safety departments involved, along with Public Works, which does a great job helping us set it all up and break everything down,” Rubino said. “They're right there with us the whole night.
“The idea is basically to just bring the police and the community together under positive circumstances,” Rubino added.
He said the department does different things throughout the year, such as the Chill with a Cop ice-cream social in June and the Police Benevolent Association trunk or treat Halloween party, where candy is handed out from the trunks of cars parked in a central location.
"They're all meant to reinforce the bond with the local public-safety departments through fun and educational activities and demonstrations,” Rubino said.
He said the SWAT team demonstration and a helicopter rescue simulation by the Coast Guard are big hits with the kids. There will also be vehicles on display that children can view and sit in, such as an airboat used by State Marine Police during shallow-water rescue and recovery missions, military Humvees and rescue trucks, a lifeboat and personal watercraft used by the beach patrol, and a towboat and five-ton truck that Sea Tow will use to demonstrate towing and salvage techniques.
Festivities will include a dunk tank where people can try to dunk local officials, music and games provided by Cat Country 107.3 FM radio, a fire hose demonstration by the Brigantine Fire Department, and a seminar on flag etiquette by the Brigantine VFW and the American Legion.
The Brigantine Elks, the Municipal Alliance, Lions Club and Knights of Columbus will be among the civic groups represented.
Shuttle-bus service will be provided to the 26th Street ball fields from the 16th Street and 34th Street municipal parking lots. Galloway Township resident Mara Justine, a finalist on reality TV show “America's Got Talent,” will sing the national anthem.