ATASCADERO — The City of Atascadero Police Department joined a national tradition on Tuesday, Aug. 7, with their first-ever Night Out event.
Part of an annual event dating to 1984, the community-building campaign aims to “promote neighborhood safety and police-community partnerships.”
Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley made the rounds at the block party styled barbecue in the parking lot of Colony Park and noted that he was pleased with the turnout on the warm evening, especially as the event competed for attention with other Tuesday night events.
“This may be our first time, but I’ve taken part in other communities that have held the Night Out events and I expect that we’ll keep it up and grow every year,” he said.
The event hosted more than active duty officers, although more were in attendance than expected, in part due to a, “thankfully quiet day in town.”
Boy Scouts from the local troop, members of the city’s police “explorer” program, area nonprofits and businesses hosted booths while the fire department and representatives from the utility company Pacific, Gas and Electric brought equipment for demonstration and display.
Demonstrations of the abilities of the police department’s canine officers were called off due to the weather, but Officer Chris Hester brought out his partner Pit to nuzzle the Chief, nearby officers and members of the crowd.
“We got lucky with Pit,” explained Hester. “Not all the members of his training group were as good with crowds.”