Food and Fun in at National Night Out Against Crime - Manhattan Express | Manhattan Express

Food and Fun in at National Night Out Against Crime

National Night Out Against Crime is an annual event that brings together the police and the community. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | The temperature, like the chicken being grilled, was sizzling — but the mood was buoyant at the annual National Night Out Against Crime on Tues., Aug. 7.

The event — a way for the police and the community to come together — was held locally by Chelsea’s 10th Precinct, and took place at the Fulton Houses on W. 17th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves.

“I think it’s great for the community,” said Jennifer Beeks, 35, who has been living at the Fulton Houses for three years. “It gives the children a chance not to be fearful of the police.”

Beeks, who was holding a plate of macaroni salad, and her daughters, Toni, 3, and Bridgett, 11, all agreed that the food was great.

Jennifer Beeks, 35, is shown here with her daughters, Bridgett, 11, standing, and Toni, three, in the stroller. All said they had a good time at the event. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Police officers and detectives from the 10th Precinct helped with the food, and grilled up chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. Slices of pizza were also offered.

Music played — with Tina Turner classics getting some residents dancing — while the food was served and people mingled. Kids whizzed by on bikes, while the bouncy castle showed its popularity.

Capt. Kevin Coleman, the newly appointed commanding officer of the 10th Precinct, said, “It’s about the police coming together with the community to have a good time, to talk to each other.”

He added that it is about the police working with residents and stakeholders in the community.

Coleman spent about five years at two precincts in the Bronx, and was enthused about his return to Manhattan.

“I’m very happy to be here,” he said.

Capt. Kevin Coleman recently became the commanding officer of the 10th Precinct. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Detective Mike Petrillo, longtime community affairs officer for the 10th, said that community-based groups, such as Hudson Guild, were invited to the event and could have a table to provide pamphlets and information for the community. This year, the High Line and the NYPD Auxiliary Police — volunteers who assist local precincts — were some of the groups that had tables.

Patrick Bouchereau, 65, doesn’t live in Chelsea but spent a combined 30 years at both the 10th and the 28th Precinct in Harlem before he retired. He is fondly remembered by this publication as a friendly face and source of good conversation by those who have worked Chelsea Now’s Police Blotter beat over the years.

“This is nice for the community,” Bouchereau said of the event. “They get to know each other and that can prevent something from happening.”

His friend, Ramon Sandoval, is an auxiliary police officer who was working their table.

“We give to the community without expecting anything,” Sandoval, who is an auxiliary coordinator, said. “We just give our time for free.”

Elected officials also attended the event, with Assemblymember Richard Gottfried saying, “This [Chelsea] is a community where the community and NYPD work together — and that’s the way it should be.”

Erik Bottcher, chief of staff for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, said, “I think we should do this every Tuesday.”

He presented citations to Petrillo and Salvatore Saetta from the 10th Precinct.

“We couldn’t be in a better precinct,” Petrillo said.

Tony Hines, 19, and Miguel Jusino, 16, said events like National Night Out help build a relationship between the cops and the neighborhood while keeping the area safe.

“It shows how they care,” said Hines, who studies applied math at New York City College of Technology.

Tony Hines, 19, and Miguel Jusino, 16, have both lived at the Fulton Houses their entire lives. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Police Officer Benicie Alezy has worked at the 10th Precinct for 13 and a half years.

National Night Out is the “the perfect way to interact with the community that we serve,” she said. “We’re here to let them know we’re their family.”

Alezy noted that the neighborhood has changed quite a bit — there used to be more clubs.

“We spend more time at work than home,” she said. “I love this job.”

The 10th Precinct Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct (230 W. 20th St.) or other locations to be announced. The Council is on break for the summer, and resumes regular monthly meetings as of Sep. 26.

Police Officer Benicie Alezy has been at the 10th Precinct for over 13 years. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Patrick Bouchereau, 65, worked for 30 years at the 10th Precinct and 28th Precinct in Harlem. He is seen here with Ramon Sandoval, 45, an auxiliary coordinator. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken were on the menu for this year’s event.

Erik Bottcher, chief of staff for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, presented citations honoring Mike Petrillo and Salvatore Saetta of the 10th Precinct. | Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

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