National Night Out brings police and communities together in Lehigh Valley, Warren County (PHOTOS)

Tuesday was a night for police officers and their neighbors to get to know each other.

National Night Out was celebrated across the region with parties in public parks and neighborhoods.

This was the first National Night Out for the newly formed West Easton police department.

The department formed two years ago. Last week it finally got its full complement of three part-time officers plus the chief.

They were at borough hall at 237 Seventh St. to greet the public, displaying the department’s new police vehicles and offering up pizza, hot dogs and games for residents.

“We’re doing a whole community block party,” West Easton Mayor Dan DePaul said prior to the event.

Larger communities like Washington Township, Warren County, expected more than 200 people to come to their National Night Out events. The Washington Township Police Department Facebook page promised K9 demonstrations, free food and music with DJ Dave Rupple at Meadow Breeze Park.

National Night Out came together to build relationships under relaxed conditions, between residents, police and other emergency responders. The free annual events generally involve food, giveaways, law enforcement demonstrations and rescue apparatus displays. There’s a national website for the event.

In Easton, activities were scheduled at Paxinosa Elementary School.

“This is a great chance for members of our community to meet their neighbors, enjoy outdoor summer fun, and learn more about the organizations that provide support to the West Ward neighborhood,” said Amy Boccadoro, manager of Easton’s West Ward Community Initiative.

DePaul is thrilled to have officers Greg Dean, Al Smith and Jimmy Siegfried on board with Chief Rob Mahady. It wasn’t easy getting the department started. There was no electrical service at the police station, the old borough hall at 301 Sixth St. There were papers to file, computers to set up -- endless tasks.

The mayor doesn’t know of any police department started from scratch in Pennsylvania in decades.

“We’re good now,” DePaul said.

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Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com.