‘It’s nice to see them excited to see a police officer’: National Night Out bridges the gap between Springfield residents and the police

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SPRINGFIELD — Across the city, several sites held their own National Night Out event on Tuesday to give residents the chance to connect with police.

National Night Out events were held at Emerson Wight Park, City View Commons, Outing Park Apartments, Mason Square Apartments, Marshal Roy Park and Myrtle Street Park.

At each site, attendees received free hamburgers, hot dogs and popcorn. Police officers were also present at each site to interact with residents.

The Police Department’s Metro Unit, for example, provided free plastic cups and pens, as well as ‘Police Officers Care’ coloring books, to Outing Park Apartments.

The goal of the National Community Building Campaign, with events traditionally held on the first Tuesday in August, is to improve relations between residents and law enforcement.

“I hope they get to know us and know that we care about the neighborhood, and I find the right people do,” said Springfield Police Department Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood. “Nobody wants their neighborhood disrupted by a few goons. We all want to live peacefully and have fun and leave the kids outside without worrying about it. That’s what it’s about.

First Resource Management Company, a division of First Resource Companies, held national night events at Outing Park Apartments, City View Commons and Mason Square Apartments.

“We appreciate it,” said Jessica Melero, senior property manager for First Resource Companies. “We get to know our residents and their family members and give a night to give back.”

Sisters Victoria and Yanielyz Alicano, ages 12 and 11, have attended a national evening twice and enjoyed the food and fun that comes with it.

“We love how everyone communicates (with each other),” Victoria said. “They are all friendly.”

Officer Anthony DiSantis said he has seen many of the children of Outing Park Apartments grow over the years, which is why he is always delighted to offer them the annual summer event and the opportunity to connect with law enforcement, because “the kids look impatient.

“They can connect with us and see us in a different light,” DiSantis said. “It’s nice to see them excited to see a police officer.”

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