PHOTOS: 72nd Precinct’s National Night Out another big hit for Sunset Park

August 3, 2016 Jaime DeJesus
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The 72nd Precinct and Sunset Park residents came together to celebrate the annual National Night Out against Crime.

Hundreds of members of the community showed up at Sunset Park soccer field on Tuesday, August 2 for a day of games, dancing, food, browsing through local information, concerts, and spending time with officers and local dignitaries.

The day also marked the first National Night Out for 72nd Precinct Captain Emmanuel Gonzalez in Sunset Park, where he grew up.

“This is a great event about diversity in the area and shows what this country is about, how different communities can come together and make one community where everybody can enjoy each other’s culture,” Gonzalez said. “You could see the police officers playing basketball with kids and that forms a connection between the police and the community.”

Elected officials praised the captain, who started this past March. “I got to know him a little when he was in the 66th Precinct and there was a building explosion around six months ago,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “Families’ lives were destroyed. That was a job that fell to Captain Gonzalez and to be able to command this diverse precinct, bring safety, restore a really good community and police partnership and also be compassionate is pretty special.”

“He’s been instrumental with us in Sunset Park to continue the service of the officers who protect and serve us every day in our community,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.

Attendees understood the importance of having the community and the officers on the same page. “It’s so important for us to come together,” said attendee Silvia Agosto. “We need to have conversations, and connect more with the police. It’s important especially with all the tension that is going on. To hang out with the police is very important so children won’t be fearful.”

Executive Officer Captain Eric Perez stressed the night is about more than music and free food. “We want to be able to connect with the public, so that they’re not just seeing us whenever they need us to do a police report,” he said. “I want them to know they can see us any time of the day and we can have a discussion, whether it’s to help them or just say hello to them. We’re always going to give the community support and we want them to understand that we’re here to support and have a connection with them and make them feel comfortable.”

“This is our Sunset Park. The message is we are stronger when we work together.,” added Congressmember Nydia Velazquez. “It’s stronger and better every year because of the people that do the work to make sure that we come together as a community and address different issues.”

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