It’s not often you have a party and invite the police, but last week we did, as part of National Night Out.

It had all the elements of a great party  loud music, fun games and great food donated by Dinah’s Chicken, Mark Weiner & Associates, Heros Humanitarian Foundation and Von’s.

The biggest hit of the evening was the radar gun  you know, the one that strikes fear into the heart of every speeding driver.  Only this time, it was used in lieu of a stop watch.  Kids and adults alike sprinted down the length of the parking lot while Officer Anthony Chacon aimed the gun.

We were also pleasantly surprised to have the crew from Fire Station 22 join us as well as State Senator Carol Liu’s representative Talin Mangioglu.

The festivities paused briefly for Glendale Police Officer Mike Ullerich’s talk about Neighborhood Watch and the importance of working with law enforcement to keep neighborhoods safe.  In our case, the party was unlike others in the city.  For one thing, we’re located in a warehouse district.  The only people who live in the area are our shelter residents and they stay here at most 3 months.  They are not going to be candidates for a Neighborhood Watch here.  In addition, the relationship between homeless people and law enforcement tends to be complicated.  It isn’t uncommon for homeless people to have run-ins with law enforcement for quality of life crimes, nor is it uncommon – if they have been on the streets for a while – to be victims of crime.  (See the State Special Report on Crimes Committed Against Homeless Persons for more information about).  Or, prior to becoming homelessness, they may have lived in neighborhoods with high crime and suspicious relations with local police.  So for us, this was an opportunity to encourage our clients to overcome such reservations and reach out to law enforcement when they move to their new home.

All in all, it was a really great night.

And they didn’t even cite us for playing loud music.

National Night Out 2010

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