National Night Out was a success in Manteca as officers and citizens got a chance to better understood each other’s viewpoints.
Residents also showed their appreciation for police doing their best to keep them safe throughout the community at 54 registered National Night Out parties. There were a number of unregistered parties as well.
A number of the parties bringing neighborhoods together were in the Del Webb community off of North Union Road where one group hosting their event in Liberty Park drew some 200 people. It was where the two police armored vehicles made a stop among a dozen locations they were assigned to visit.
SWAT Sgt. Paul Carmona said the most common question from the public was why the armored vehicles were needed in Manteca.
The armored vehicles are used mostly in warrant service arrests where the suspects are believed to be in their homes with weapons that threaten police officers who might otherwise just walk up to the door with a warrant in hand and be exposed to an attack..
The larger of the two armored vehicles is the mine resistant ambush protection (MRAP) that was purchased with several hundred thousand of dollars in drug money confiscated in arrests in the community. A smaller armored vehicle that was displayed to citizens last night was the Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport Vehicle.
Officers are also aware of the Highway 99 and I-5 conduits that bring drugs from Mexico into the states often with heavily armed dealers who have been threats to the law enforcement communities for years — another common threat to police officers.
Motorcycle traffic officers Mitch Ellis and John Machado rode into about seven of the parties answering questions about why they don’t patrol neighborhoods more often and set up their radar equipment to catch speeders.
They explained that their focus is prioritized toward the larger streets that have greater speed violations and more collisions over the course of the year. The officers said they received positive responses from the public at the parties and no negative attitudes at all.
Questioned on how often they have had motorists make a left turn in front of them, they are taught to scan oncoming traffic and often have to blink their headlights when they think drivers do not see them approaching. Officers voiced their appreciation of the overabundance of nice people attending the parties.
The children were drawn to the mounted officers, Sgt. Jody Estarziau and Officer Joe DeAngelis and their horses Stanley and Nikko. They started out at 6 p.m. and continued until 10 with their last stop on Terracina Circle just off Northgate Drive. Others stopping by to say hello were patrol officers between calls on their regularly assigned beats as well as the bomb squad that brought out its robot used in cases of questionable packages left in the community.