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Lathrop neighborhoods party to send message to criminals

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Lathrop neighborhoods party to send message to criminals

Neighbor Darren Olivarez is overcome by a giggle fit as his National Night Out block party hosts, Eric, left, and Bryan Smith, along with Tracy Holzer, also a neighbor indulgently smile. The Smith ...

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED August 6, 2014 1:11 a.m.

Chester Smith is in Northern California with a San Joaquin County strike team battling a devastating wildfire in Siskiyou County where eight homes so far have been destroyed.

But that did not stop his family from hosting the National Night Out block party in front of their home Tuesday night. It was one of two neighborhood anti-crime gatherings on Cambridge Drive, with more than a dozen more being held in various parts of the city including the Generations Center and Lathrop High School football field.

Playing host to guests on behalf of their retired Lathrop-Manteca Fire District battalion chief were his sons, Eric, a firefighter for the district, and his younger brother Bryan who is working his way toward becoming a full-fledged member of the force like his sibling.

Joining forces in the fight against crime across the United States were the Lathrop Image Changers Church which gathered together at their new location at Town Centre Drive just east of City Hall, and neighborhoods along Olivine Avenue, at Crescent Park Circle near River Islands Parkway, and other neighborhoods in East Lathrop, Mossdale Landing in west Lathrop, and around the Old Town District.

Lending their presence to the event that began in 1984 were officers of the Lathrop Police Services, fire personnel with the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District – Battalion Chief Larry Madoski is  overseeing the fire district force while Chief Gene Neely is helping lead the strike team in the North State – and city officials. For the first time Tuesday night, the city’s National Night Out block parties included an educational presentation involving the so-called Fatal Vision Goggles which are used to educate people on the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

National Night Out is a nationwide event aimed at promoting residents’ involvement in crime-prevention activities, community partnerships with police and other local agencies, neighbors getting to know one another, and neighborhoods working together as one in sending the message to criminals that they are organized and are fighting back.

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