Burbank's National Night Out: A chance to get acquainted

With a whistle around his neck, 7-year-old Anthony Oliva tried on a black police helmet at National Night Out on Tuesday.

“Put that helmet on, buddy,” said Burbank Police Det. Sam Anderson, who is also a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics team.

Anthony smiled for the camera as his mother snapped a photo and his 1-year-old brother, Aaron, chuckled.

The SWAT team set up one of dozens of booths at the annual event, which is designed to strengthen relationships between law-enforcement officials and the public.

“It's always instructive for the kids to know what the police do and not just be scared of them,” said Delphine Khatchatourian, a Studio City resident who brought her two children to the event.

Alex Chen, who attended the event with his wife and two kids, shared that sentiment.

“You see them as human beings,” Chen said about the police officers. “It's nice just to see them be off-duty, [yet] on-duty, and see them let their guards down.”

Nearby, young children rode tricycles through an obstacle course made with chalk, while others played golf.

“It's a fun event that connects the public with the (police department) on a more easy-going level, versus when you call the police,” said Burbank Police Commissioner and Los Angeles police officer Amy Vest.

After the event, which was held in the parking lot behind the police station, police and city officials planned to attend block parties organized by different Neighborhood Watch groups.

“It's an opportunity to engage in a little conversation with folks,” said Deputy Police Chief Tom Angel.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World