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Record-setting night for National Night Out

Dorothy Faith talks with Rochester Police Officer Greg Jeardeau as he explains how the body cams work at Kutzky Park Tuesday night August 2, 2016 during National Night Out.

Warm weather and warm tones from local musicians brought neighbors together at Cooke Park in Rochester, where the Washington Neighborhood Association had organized a National Night Out get-together.

It was just one of 363 events that Rochester neighbors organized for a record-breaking celebration of community bonds. More than 73,000 people were invited to the community gatherings.

Michael Exstedvisited the gathering in Cooke Park with his wife and three children. The family enjoyed the opportunity to spend social time with neighbors, Exsted said.

"I think it's great to get together with our neighbors, especially in our day and age when a lot of people are maybe more independent and all over the place," he said. "When you can come together with the people who live right next to you, I think there's something good about that."

Kayla Piper, a Washington neighborhood resident, attended the Cooke Park gathering with family and a friend.


"I love this neighborhood," she said. "It's very multigenerational and diverse — there's a lot that we can learn from each other."

Piper also appreciated the presence of Rochester police and fire department staff who attended. Of the 363 parties in Rochester, 148 of them requested to have a Rochester Police Department officer visit.

"It's important for both sides — for us to see the police and fire department and for them to come spend time with us, as well. I think it's important for them to be a part of the community," she said.

Matt Koslowattended National Night Out in Kutzky Park as a way to continue meeting his new neighbors. He moved to the area less than two months ago after living in Florida and Israel. The neighborhood has been "wonderful," he said.

"Unbelievable people — very social, outgoing, warm. It's a nice community."

Koslow said it was "absolutely" important for the community to engage with local police and fire, as those services have had an impact in shaping the Kutzky neighborhood and continue to have a regular presence.

Lois Krippendorfbrought her husband and son to the Kutzky event. The family moved from Manhattan, New York, two and a half years ago, she said, and has enjoyed the close-knit neighborhood.

"It's a great neighborhood," Krippendorf said. "It's kind of like a circle of learning what's going on. … We came from Manhattan, so it was a big change but on a level of getting to know your neighbors and getting to do things, it's very nice. It's diverse and cultural."


Sara Paizis, a Kutzky resident, was with her family at the Kutzky Park gathering and was interested to meet with a Rochester police officer who offered to show the group how the new mobile video recorders police are wearing functioned.

"One of the police officers was just showing us how his body camera works. That was really neat," Paizis said.

National Night Out is not the only night Kutzky residents get to interact with the police department.

"They come to all of our association meetings, so we get to interact with them there," Paizis said. "I feel like they're very supportive and pleasant."

The Rochester Police Department distributed awards during events around the city. To see a list of winners, check the crime prevention webpage at coptalklive.com .

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