PORT JERVIS—Port Jervis City residents came out on Aug. 2 for National Night Out, which kicked off with a parade and was followed by lots of things to do at Riverside Park.
Police Chief William Worden said the night represented the bigger picture of police–community relationship building with youth and adults of all ages.
“Truly, the police are the community and the community are the police,” Worden said. “We can’t do our jobs without their assistance.”
People gathered at City Hall for the evening parade. The Port Jervis varsity football team walked along in their Raiders’ jerseys.
Head Coach Matt Polanis said that football is really popular in Port Jervis and the players are looked upon as role models.
Some of the younger kids may see the players participating in the event, and perhaps if they stay “on the straight and narrow,” they too might wear the jersey and play football for Port Jervis High School, he said.
Parade and Fun at the Park
The parade was led by three horses and their riders from the Otisville Correctional Facility. Darrell Houghtaling rode Dodge, a gentle, well-groomed horse that allowed children of all ages to approach and stroke him.
Houghtaling rides his horse every day around the correctional facility’s outer perimeter. He said he participates to encourage a positive relationship with the public.
A crowd of about 1,000 strolled around the park, getting information or food, and just having a fun night out. An estimated 50 vendors were set up to invite people to do activities or give out useful safety information.
National Park Service rangers of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River shared safety information with visitors to their booth.
Rachel Gonzalez, an interpretive park ranger, said “wearing your life jacket on the river, that’s a big thing. No one has ever drowned on the Upper Delaware River wearing a properly fitted life jacket.”
Local officials were on hand to meet residents and support the event. Mayor Kelly Decker mingled with paraders and thanked them for coming out. He said the night was important to “show solidarity with the people who go out and risk their lives every day to keep our community safe.”
Orange County legislator Tom Faggione said “tonight we get a chance to come out as community-minded people and thank our law enforcement officials, our fire department, and EMS. They are the people who go into burning buildings when we are running out.”
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