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Annual event has near-record turnout in city park

‘A great night’

Dunkirk officers blow up balloons for kids at Tuesday’s National Night Out.

As music from the Rising blared through Washington Park, parents and children from all corners of the city of Dunkirk gathered to celebrate the Dunkirk Police Department’s 28th annual National Night Out.

“With everything going on with law enforcement around the state and our country, it’s a great night for us to interact in a positive way with the community because most of the time what we do is not a positive issue when the police arrive,” Dunkirk Police Chief Dave Ortolano told the OBSERVER. “Our community support in the city is unbelievable, we’ve always had it, this community has always stood behind us and they’ve always been there for us and that’s how we enjoy the success of public safety that we do. It takes everyone to make this even happen and keep our community safe.”

In one of the largest turnouts the department has ever seen, children from all walks of life and various backgrounds enjoyed face painting, bounce houses, balloons and free gifts from the police including mini footballs and Frisbees. Pizza and doughnuts were offered along with pop and the night was to end with a movie. Children at the event ran around enjoying themselves immensely.

A lot goes into planning this event every year. According to Officer Amy Noble the group starts about two months in advance getting ready for it. “Everyone’s been on this committee for a long time, but they really love the kids and want to create a memorable experience,” Noble said.

“We really enjoy seeing the kids get excited and interacting with everyone in a positive way,” Ortolano said.

OBSERVER Photos by Jo Ward Members of the Dunkirk Police Department pose with children during National Night Out on Tuesday.

Along with the entire police force and their vehicles for kids to look at, the Dunkirk Firefighters were there along with their equipment as well. All and all it was a happy upbeat event that everyone in the community enjoyed.

Other Night Out events in the north county took place at Russell Joy Park in Fredonia with the Fredonia Police Department with another happening in Cassadaga.

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