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Morgan Hill
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August 12, 2022

Safe night out in Morgan Hill

National Night Out draws hundreds to City Hall campus

Hundreds of Morgan Hill residents, volunteers and business owners spent their evening Tuesday getting to know each other and their local police officers and firefighters—on their own terms.

The festivities were part of National Night Out, a nationwide “community building” public safety campaign that started in 1984 to encourage police and fire agencies to become more acquainted with the local residents and families they serve.

At the Aug. 2 event at the Morgan Hill Civic Center campus on Peak Avenue, firefighters and emergency paramedics handed out free ice cream and stickers to young attendees; children enjoyed a giant slide and rock climbing wall; and booths hosted by local nonprofits and City of Morgan Hill offices sponsored games and giveaways.

Kids climbed on MHPD patrol motorcycles and lined up to pet the department’s K9 dog, Bosco, while parents snapped photos and thanked the officers. CalFire’s ladder truck extended high into the air above City Hall with a giant American flag draping in the light breeze. Food trucks lined Peak Avenue to offer families a variety of nourishment.

Attendees had a chance to win bicycles and other items in a free raffle that took place toward the end of the evening.

In brief remarks over a public announcement system, Morgan Hill Police Chief Shane Palsgrove told the scattered audience that one of MHPD’s core values is “community policing,” and events such as National Night Out help advance that effort.

“Together we are making Morgan Hill a safer community and a community that cares for one another, and a better place to live,” Palsgrove said, later adding, “Simply put, we believe in building relationships with our community and working together to solve crimes.”

City Manager Christina Turner encouraged the crowd to stop by any of the dozens of booths hosted by local community organizations and city departments, to get to know city staff and nonprofit providers.

Booths were represented not only by MHPD, the Morgan Hill Fire Department and CalFire. They also included 211 United Way Bay Area; American Association of University Women; Community Law Enforcement Foundation; Community Solutions; Santa Clara County Behavioral Health; county parks; Edward Boss Prado Foundation; Healthier Kids Foundation; Morgan Hill Historical Society; Kiwanis of Morgan Hill; Morgan Hill Library; Nueva Esperanza; Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority; Recology; Rotary Club of Morgan Hill; Morgan Hill Unified School District; South County Youth Taskforce; VTA; Valley Water; Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center; Youth Advisory Council; and almost every City of Morgan Hill department including maintenance, engineering, utilities, environmental services, recreation, housing, commissions, economic development, planning and building and the volunteer Community Emergency Response Team. 

Many of these vendors gave away toys, school supplies and other useful items. Cecelia Ponzini, executive director of the Prado Foundation, said her booth gave away more than 110 backpacks to kids during the event. 

In previous years, the city has held its annual National Night Out festivities on East Third Street. This year, however, city officials opted for the Civic Center campus because it offers more space and openness “where we could bring people together,” City Clerk Michelle Bigelow said. 

The event grounds extended up to the library and its parking lot on West Main Avenue. 

A Santa Clara County paramedic hands out free ice cream at the Aug. 2 National Night Out event.
The Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation stand at the Aug. 2 National Night Out featured Barnadette, the center’s resident educational barn owl.

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