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Chester County Press

Hundreds attend National Night Out events in West Grove, Avondale and Kennett Square

08/09/2022 01:34PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw                    Lynn Riden and Bill Wohl of the West Grove Fire Company, showcase a 1919 Hale Pumper fire engine at National Night Out festivities in West Grove on Aug. 2. Organized by the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department and the Kennett Township Police, similar events were also held in Avondale and at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square.


By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Over the course of its 38-year history, National Night Out has become the once-a-year celebration of a ritual of communication that endeavors to happen quietly every day.

Throughout the U.S., the annual event serves as the high-water mark of a community-building campaign that promotes police-resident partnerships, all in a continuing effort to further break the barriers – real or imagined – that exist between police departments and the people they serve.

The Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) and the Kennett Township Police Department were just two of several law enforcement units throughout Chester County that furthered that conversation as part of National Night Out festivities on Aug. 2. The SCCRPD held its celebrations at two of its primary coverage zones that drew hundreds of families and representatives from civic organizations. The West Grove Borough event featured moon bounce rides, music by the 2uesday Night Band, demonstrations by police officers; members of the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team; and both the Avondale and West Grove fire companies. As a fundraiser for the After the Bell program, retiring SCCRPD officer Mario Raimato volunteered in the dunk tank.

The department’s celebration in Avondale featured pony rides, police demonstrations and appearances by representatives from local agencies and elected officials. For New Garden Township Board Chairman Steve Allaband, National Night Out celebrates not just the police but the many geographical components of the township.

“For the longest time, we have tried to build relationship with our neighbors,” he said. “Since I was first elected, I have always said that communities work better when they have partnerships with those who serve them. Having our events in West Grove and Avondale allows us to link two distinct communities together in order to share not only fun times but to further the conversation of ideas and resources along.”

Hosted by Kennett Township and its police department, National Night Out drew several hundred community members to Anson B. Nixon Park, where they enjoyed face painting, live music from the band shell, and complimentary food from Los Gios Smoke and Grill from Douglassville, Pa., water ice from Rita’s and ice cream from Paleteria y Manantial in Avondale.

Also on hand were the Longwood, Kennett and Pro-Mar-Lin fire companies, as well as members of the township’s Public Works Department and emergency services unit. “Since COVID-19, it has been hard for all of us to get together and so this gives us a chance to do that,” said Kennett Township Board Chairman Richard Leff. “We have always wanted to have an event that would allow not only our township police but our first responders and our road crew talk with residents when there is not an emergency. They’re just as much a part of what we do for the township but may not be as front as center, so events like this give them a chance to meet residents in less stressful times, too.”

Kennett Township Supervisor Scudder Stevens recalled how the township’s past involvement in National Night Out has helped familiarize the township’s law enforcement with the communities they serve, whether through the sharing of officers’ personalized trading cards or visiting local schools throughout the year.

“Through these actions, these children get to see the officers now and say to them, ‘I know you!’” Stevens said. “It helps to cement relationships and it changes the dynamic. It’s no longer one against one but two working together, in a gentle way.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].