By Jill Nossa
Dozens of families came out for Glen Cove’s 12th annual National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 7, enjoying games, music and refreshments while mingling with neighbors. Though a thunderstorm cut the evening’s festivities short, attendees who arrived early had plenty of time to experience the fun of a yearly block party, held in front of the Glen Cove Police headquarters on Bridge Street.
The event, sponsored by the Glen Cove Police Department (GCPD) and the City of Glen Cove provides the community with an opportunity to become more familiar with its police officers and learn about local services and organizations available to families. The intent of National Night Out, which began in 1984 on a national level, is to build awareness for crime and drug prevention, support local anti-crime efforts and further solidify the strong ties between the community and its hardworking police department.
“Each year it gets bigger and better,” said William Whitton, chief of the GCPD. “Last year, over 40 million people stood across this country with their respective police departments, basically shouting down crime, partnering with their local police officers, getting to meet them and forming a synergy.”
Whitton expressed a love for his job and his community and pride for the members of the police department.
“These men and women go out there every day and keep this community one of the safest places to live in the United States,” said Whitton.
Mayor Tim Tenke spoke about the importance of this annual event and thanked both the attendees and those that helped organize the event, including Roberto Telese and Ryan Nardone, the fire department, EMS, harbor patrol
“As a city we are proud to celebrate our 12th annual National Night Out,” said Tenke. “Now more than ever, it’s important to nurture a strong relationship with our men and women in blue, and that’s what we’re doing tonight. Under the leadership of Chief Whitton, Deputy Ortiz, our police lieutenants, sergeants, detectives and officers, they’ve done an outstanding job in preserving the safety of our city.”
Joe LaPadula was this year’s honoree, selected by the GCPD. Whitton highlighted the ways LaPadula, owner of Martino Auto Concepts and founder of the First City Project, has given back to the community.
Since 2009, LaPadula has organized the Gold Coast Concours/Bimmerstock, an annual charity event, which has raised more than $615,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). He also organizes numerous community outreach events supporting charities such as the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program; in turn his company received the prestigious 5 Star Diamond award in 2014 and 2015.
At the age of 23, LaPadula founded Martino Auto Concepts (MAC). Today, after 27 years, MAC has become synonymous with automotive excellence providing clients with an outstanding level of service, style and unparalleled dedication to the artistry of their craft. Being an authentic art connoisseur, LaPadula’s latest project is housed at the Coles House in Glen Cove. More than 200 world renowned street artists were invited to paint the walls of this 9,000-square-foot historic building turning individual collaborations into an art collective, called the First City Project.
“Joe does so much for our city,” said Tenke, as he handed him a citation on behalf of the city and thanked him for his service.
National Night Out included free tours of the GCPD, TASER and police equipment demonstrations by officers, Operation Safe Child ID badges for kids, an appearance by Sparky the Dragon from the New York Islanders, face painting, a game bus, a bounce house, karaoke and free refreshments.
Local government officials, police officers, first responders and community leaders also participated by passing out information or being available for informal conversations on the street.
The event was sponsored by the GCPD, PBA, Youth Bureau, Volunteer Fire Department, EMS, the Housing Authority, Glen Cove Hospital Northwell Health and the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), the Printery, local businesses and organizations with assistance from the mayor’s office.
Glen Cove resident Debbie Kurre attended National Night Out with her two daughters for the first time.
“It was a great opportunity to bring the police and community together in a fun-filled environment,” said Kurre.