To many people, participation is one of the key elements of a healthy and thriving neighborhood. Whether it’s through social media or face-to-face interactions, many people in America are now attempting to reach out and make new connections to their community. On the first Tuesday of August, many people have made it a point to gather for their annual National Night Out events. The purpose of National Night Out is to raise and bring awareness to the police-community relationship. One of the many locations in Sacramento where such a gathering happened this year was the Fruitridge Shopping Center on Stockton Boulevard.

“My husband is a volunteer [and] I have a son that is a sheriff for Yolo county, [so] I believe in people giving back in their community,” said Donna Shintaku, an attendee of the event. “That’s the biggest reason why I want to support the community, I love Sacramento.”

During this event,  a Sacramento Police Department S.W.A.T Vehicle and K9 unit greeted the visitors. Area police officers and community leaders from the Stockton Boulevard Partnership and Fruitridge Manor neighborhood were also present. Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra came by to chat with the attendees and event organizers before leaving to visit other National Night Out locations. Under the summer sky, free ice cream was served to everyone.

 “Your council members, your mayor, and everyone makes their rounds,” said Vincene Jones, a member of the Stockton Block Redevelopment Community. “It’s really a support for the neighborhood about crime. [National Night Out is about] getting to know your neighbors [and] looking out for each other.”

Volunteer Handing Out Ice Cream

Despite temperatures which passed 100 degrees, about two dozen people showed up at this particular National Night Out event. New people met each other and strangers become friends. It was not just a social gathering, it was also a discussion between law enforcement and community members. National Night Out aims to promote the police public image. With many visual examples of police brutality over the past years, organizers believe that part of the solution is to get people and officers enjoying ice cream together.