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Chester County Press

West Grove to host regional police force's Aug. 1 National Night Out event

07/25/2017 10:04AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

Until now, the two most significant milestones in the short history of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department have been the agreement that linked the former New Garden Township and West Grove Borough police units together as one in 2016; and the department's official inauguration ceremony held on Jan. 12 at the Kennett Middle School before 250 dignitaries, friends, family and fellow law enforcement officers.
These occasions, however monumental, both had an air of formality. The department's National Night Out festivities planned for Aug. 1 in the center of West Grove, however, will serve as the unit's first opportunity to lose the officialism and kick back with the community it serves.
Next Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Rose Hill Square, the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department will host a block party, and everyone is invited.
The event will include fire, police and emergency vehicle displays; bike patrol demonstrations; live music by the band 2uesday Nite; food trucks featuring a wide variety of foods; charity dunk tanks; face painting, moon bounce and the opportunity for children to create their own selfie cards with local police; visits from elected officials; and representatives from several social and charitable organizations, who will patrol information booths to make visitors aware of their services.
In addition, several businesses will showcase their products outside of their storefronts.
“We intended to try to do something last year, but for any number of reasons, we didn't have the resources and had to bow out,” said Deputy Chief Michael King, who planned the event  with Sergeant Joseph Greenwalt, Officer Mario M. Raimato and administrative assistant Sandy Lutz. “We vowed to do it this year, and as is the case with so many things surrounding this merger, the ability to combine our resources is allowing us to put on this event for the first time. We're not reinventing the wheel, but we're taking our cues from agencies that have a history with this.
“We want to make our first event a real success.”
The department's National Night Out event will be its first, and is an outgrowth of the new unit's commitment to devote part of its energies toward exploring ways to increase community involvement.
“This is, in my opinion, the definition of community policing,” King said. “This is our chance to engage with the public, one-on-one with families and children, get out of our cars and on the street, and have fellowship, in a casual environment. While our regular police services will not be interrupted, we have committed people and that energy is contagious. I think this will be the first of many public events we do moving forward, whether they're part of a national program, or whether we take part in something that one or both municipalities already have in place.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].