Local public safety standouts, including Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, county District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and McGruff the Crime Dog, joined El Dorado Park residents and Fresno State students at this year’s National Night Out event.
Dyer remarked, “It’s important for the community and law enforcement to get together, to get to know one another.”
The El Dorado Park neighborhood is home to a cross section of Fresno communities, including Syrian refugees.
At its peak, roughly 200 people thronged the Wesley United Methodist Church grounds at Barstow Avenue near Fourth Street, playing games and partaking in a free barbecue. The smokey air didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd.
The gathering was sponsored by Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. for the seventh year. The event has been a key piece of the neighborhood revitalization efforts by students, ASI, the university and the city of Fresno.
Fresno State Greek organizations, including Kappa Sigma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Alpha Sigma Phi, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Phi Mu hosted game booths to help entertain the neighborhood kids. Lambda Chi Alpha oversaw the watermelon-eating contest.
Community organizations like the Red Cross, Marjaree Mason Center, Early Childhood Education, the Lock It Up prescription drug abuse prevention project of the California Health Collaborative, the KNOW More 24-hour hotline and the Family Healing Center were also there handing out literature and answering questions.
Fresno and university police also tabled, providing information to attendees. City councilmember Paul Caprioglio’s staff manned tables along with city revitalization program staffers. Besides the game booths, there were two bounce houses to help keep smaller children occupied.
The Fresno Fire Department was also in the house. Truck 11 and Engine 6, which both serve the campus area, were an immediate hit with the kids, large and small. Firefighters made sure everyone learned about what they do.