National Night Out started back in 1984 as a crime prevention tool while also building a bridge between law enforcement and the community.
Stephani Swack’s boys eat, breath and sleep all things law enforcement.
“My kids are obsessed with police,” said Swack.
Swack jumped at the opportunity for her sons to see law enforcement in a different light Tuesday night.
“I think it’s great that they set this up for the kids to interact and see the good side and not to see them as the bad guys,” said Swack.
Officials were expecting close to 1,000 people in Preisker Park for National Night Out.
“It brings the community together with local businesses, the police department and other local police agencies. Ultimately we want everyone to come out and make relationships,” said Matthew Jensen with the Santa Maria Police Department.
Authorities say those relationships make our communities safer.
“Communities that are tighter, it helps reduce crime. They can work together, they can work with the police department, they don’t need to be afraid to work with the police department. We’re here, we’re people too, we’re open arms,” said Jensen.
Santa Maria wasn’t the only city getting in on the fun, 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities are also celebrating National Night Out.