National Night Out unites police, students, ‘hood

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Students, faculty, Alamo Colleges police officers and community members enjoy mariachi Los Galleros Oct. 6 during this college's first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges police department on West Evergreen and North Main. About 250 attendees partook in free food, raspas and drinks at the block party promoting community-building against crime. Photo by E. David Guel

Students, faculty, Alamo Colleges police officers and community members enjoy mariachi Los Galleros Oct. 6 during this college’s first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges police department on West Evergreen and North Main. About 250 attendees partook in free food, raspas and drinks at the block party promoting community-building against crime. Photo by E. David Guel

District police reach out to the community to encourage safety and prevention.

By Kyle R. Cotton

kcotton11@student.alamo.edu

Amid recent crime reports, students discussing some of their bad experiences at Tobin Lofts and a neighborhood hostage situation the morning of Oct. 6; the Alamo College police department hosted its first National Night Out event.

The event, for the college and Tobin Lofts community, was on West Evergreen Street between North Main Avenue and Howard Street.

Faith and Hope Calma, daughters of Alamo Colleges officer Merasol Malapo, left, admire a badge sticker with Deputy Chief Joe Curiel Oct. 6 during this college's first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges' police department on West Evergreen and North Main Ave. About 250 people had free soda, water, burgers and sausage wraps provided by Luther’s Cafe and Alamo Colleges officers. Photo by E. David Guel

Faith and Hope Calma, daughters of Alamo Colleges officer Merasol Malapo, left, admire a badge sticker with Deputy Chief Joe Curiel Oct. 6 during this college’s first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges’ police department on West Evergreen and North Main Ave. About 250 people had free soda, water, burgers and sausage wraps provided by Luther’s Cafe and Alamo Colleges officers. Photo by E. David Guel

National Night Out was established in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch to promote partnerships between the police and community and camaraderie among neighbors to make the community safer.

This was one of 600 National Night Out events across San Antonio, President Robert Vela said.

About 200 people showed up at the event; the music was loud as people lined up for food provided by Luther’s Cafe and district police.

A mariachi band was on hand, competing with the loudspeakers to entertain the crowd.

Jose Martinez, business freshman and Tobin Lofts resident, said, “It’s pretty cool. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this.”

Martinez hadn’t read the recent crime stories but said, “I heard things, before I moved in, like, it wasn’t safe, but I haven’t seen anything.”

Deputy Chief Joe Pabon, who helped coordinate the event, said, “This is for the community. This gives them the opportunity to get to know each other and their local police.

“In an environment like this, you’ll see people tell us things we should be aware of,” Pabon said. Police can be intimidating for some people.

“Feel free to talk to them. They don’t bite, and if they do, they’ve had their rabies shots,” police Chief Don Adams said.

Business sophomore Deron Taylor said, “It’s nice of them to put on an event like this. It shows me a different insight on them.

Engineering freshman Itzel Mendoza and business freshman David Davila fill their plates Oct. 6 during this college's first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges police department on West Evergreen and North Main. Burgers were provided at no cost by Luther’s Cafe. Photo by E. David Guel

Engineering freshman Itzel Mendoza and business freshman David Davila fill their plates Oct. 6 during this college’s first National Night Out hosted by the Alamo Colleges police department on West Evergreen and North Main. Burgers were provided at no cost by Luther’s Cafe. Photo by E. David Guel

“It’s nice to see how friendly they are, and knowing that they are just a couple of blocks away makes me feel safe,” he said.

Taylor, a resident of Tobin Lofts for two years, said the complex is gated, the front doors have double locks and the staff in the leasing office is very receptive.

Melissa Aguillon, a spokesperson for Tobin Lofts, said general manager Nick Leto was talking with residents at the event one-on-one to address any concerns.

“We want to make sure our residents feel as safe as possible,” Aguillon said.

Pabon said he was happy with the turnout but wants it to be much bigger.

“We’ve only filled up half the block this year. Next year, I want to fill the whole block.”

For nonemergencies, call 210-485-0099, or 210-485-0911 for emergencies.

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