It was a grand old time in downtown Hollister on Tuesday as first responders and local organizations invited the community to the annual National Night Out celebration.
Hollister Chief of Police Carlos Reynoso was one of several law officers who took time to chat with locals, hand out police badge stickers to children and pose for photos.
“Today’s a special day and it’s set apart for this purpose,” he said. “But it’s something that we should be doing all the time. It should be a daily routine.”
Reynoso stressed that the police department wants the community and children to know they can go to them whenever they need help.
“We’re here to serve them. This is our job,” he said.
National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Hollister Police Department along with the San Benito Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and other community organizations participated in Tuesday evening’s event.
Reece Sharp, 5, and his 2-year old sister, Finley, had a chance to climb aboard one of the armored vehicles on display on San Benito Street.
A little ways down, 4-year old Tristan Topete wore his deputy sheriff vest and was equipped with a toy walkie talkie as he patrolled downtown Hollister.
Reynoso mentioned that too many people scare their children by telling them if they misbehave that the cops will take them away.
“That’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to us because you’re conditioning your kids, you’re teaching them to be afraid of us and there’s really no reason to be afraid of us,” he said.
According to the National Night Out website, the event was introduced in August of 1984 through an established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation.
The first annual event involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states.
This year, 38 million neighbors across 16,000 communities in the United States participated in the National Night Out. Hollister was one of 377 cities in California that participated in the festivities.
Reynoso said the goal for them is to emphasize that law enforcement agencies are part of the community.
“We want to make this place a great place to live, and continue to make it safe,” he said.