Several thousand Santa Monicans attended a block party hosted by the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) in front of the Public Safety Facility Tuesday night which was part of the annual “National Night Out.”
SMPD Police Chief Timothy Jackman told the gathered crowd “Tonight, we’re more than 15,000 communities across the United States that’s meeting like this. Everybody is coming out and getting to know their neighbors to stop crime.” The goals are to learn how to prevent crime, be anti-drug, strengthen neighborhood spirit and “let criminals know we are here so they are not going to get away with anything.”
State Assembly Member Julia Brownley whose district includes Santa Monica, also spoke. She emphasized that the night is “about community, neighbor to neighbor, street to street, block to block until we build the great community of Santa Monica. By building community we become strong” and a strong community will then be able to provide great schools, a great police department and a great fire department to keep us safe.
This year’s party showcased the efforts of the SMPD’s Homeless Liaison’s Program and the City of Santa Monica’s Project Homecoming. The Homeless Liaison’s Program was started in 1991 and its team follows a two-pronged approach to impact homelessness by utilizing the traditional law enforcement techniques and by working closely with various social service agencies.
Project Homecoming is available to homeless individuals in the process of discharge from the criminal justice, health, mental health or substance abuse systems in Santa Monica who will be homeless after their discharge. The program’s goal is to provide travel assistance to reunite these individuals with their family members.
The event also focused on the theme of “Back to Basics” which according to SMPD Sergeant Jay Trisler is the “nuts and bolts” of the police and the community working together to provide a safe community because the “police department can’t do it alone.”
This year there was a trailer from Mothers Against Drug Driving (MADD) that contained a replica of the collision site from a drunk driving accident on March 30, 2008 at the intersection of Ocean Park Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard. This was part of the traffic department’s display to help deter people from drinking and driving.
Other booths highlighted different aspects of police operations by having officers from different operations available to answer questions and demonstrate equipment. Also on hand were booths from the City’s Fire Department, the City’s neighborhood organizations, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Monica Pier.
More information about the event and the Police Department can be found at the santamonicapd.org or by calling 310.458-8474.