Reston Children Meet Their Friendly Cops

Reston Children Meet Their Friendly Cops

National Night Out brings neighbors and authorities together.

The rain clouds were looming on Tuesday, Aug. 6, but to the surprise of many, the weather held out for National Night Out (NNO) festivities in Reston. Eleven communities in Reston and an estimated 500 people total joined in on the fun to raise awareness for crime prevention and bring neighbors together.

National Night Out celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. National Program Coordinator Matt Peskin said, “This is a night for America to stand together and promote awareness, safety, and neighborhood unity. National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight for a safer nation. On NNO, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us and give crime a going away party.”

And party the Reston communities did. Neighborhoods all over Reston had cookouts, ice cream socials, pool parties and games.

At the Southgate Community Center, kids from all over the community came to enjoy the event. “We always partner with Target and Fairfax County Police and Sheriff’s Departments,” said Southgate Community Center Director Richard Cabellos. “Police come and hang out with the children and the parents of the neighborhood. Letting them know that they’re here as a presence and as a safety.”

Maria Musso, Southgate community member and mother of four school-aged children who take part in activities at Southgate, appreciated the event. “It’s nice to have the connection between kids and police. My kids, especially my boys, my son, he likes the contact with the police. To me it’s important because sometimes the kids say, ‘oh no! The police!’ they’re scared of the police. It’s important, the connection, the relation between the police and kids.”

Local sponsors also showed their support at the events. At Southgate, Target passed out school supplies to children. At the KinderCare event at Isaac Newton Square, many different organizations held booths and passed out information. They also had face painting, a coloring center and a free hotdog cookout for attendees. “I think it means a lot. Just to show community spirit. Just not picking up your kids and driving away and not socializing. Sometimes we just get so into our routines and don’t get a chance to talk to and spend time with our neighbors and friends,” said community member and father of a child at the KinderCare, Sonny Advincula.

And that was the main reason for the event. “Getting to know your neighbors is really the point of this. National Night Out is the neighborhood stand against crime,” said Fairfax County Crime Prevention Officer for Reston District Station Katy Defoe.

The Fairfax Police Department, including the bike team and helicopter, the Sheriff’s Department, local fire departments and working police officers all stopped by the community events to show support. The NNO mascot, the Knight, even stopped by the events to greet the kids.

NNO is held every year on the first Tuesday in August. Community members are responsible for planning their own neighborhood events and can obtain resources and support at the National Association of Town Watch website,