National Night Out brings community together in downtown Hollister

For 25 years, communities around the country have celebrated National Night Out to bring law enforcement and citizens together

For the second year, Hollister joined the rest of the country for National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign to promote police and community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, according to the National Association of Town Watch, the nation’s premiere non-profit crime prevention organization.

“National Night Out brings the community and police together to take a stand against crime,” said Hollister Chief of Police, David Westrick. “This event has been going on for about 25 years and I think it’s important to the whole city. Right now we have 23 community neighborhood watches and I’d like to see even more, perhaps as many as 100. This is a great chance for the community to meet the men and women who protect them and to have a relationship with them, to put names with faces.”

San Benito County Sheriff Darren Thompson said, “Events like this are valuable in enhancing relationships between all government, public safety, law enforcement and the community. Obviously, we want to have the greatest relationship possible with the greatest level of trust. These types of non-threatening, unofficial events enhance that relationship.”

On his second day as Hollister’s new fire chief, Bob Martin Del Campo, a U.S. Marine and Army veteran, took charge of the fire, police and sheriff’s explorers for the opening flag ceremony by forming them up and giving them an impromptu lesson on close-order drill and presenting the colors.

“The community needs to see their public safety people out here and understand how they provide a level of comfort and safety,” he said. “I like the fact that we’ve got four cadets for the color guard made up of explorers from the police department, the sheriff’s office and fire. That’s important because Hollister is an island. We don’t have a larger city next to us. We have Hollister in the middle of San Benito County. For us to be self-sustaining I think it’s important that we come together for events like this.”

The event officially kicked off with a presentation of the colors by the four-member explorer color guard that marched between lines of fellow explorers. Then the National Anthem was performed by Hollister’s Joe Fata, who recently appeared on Telemundo’s La Voz Kids.

Flashing lights and gleaming squad cars, ambulances and fire trucks were prime attractions for kids and parents to climb in and have their pictures taken. Officers, deputies and explorers played games with fellow residents and handed out raffle prizes.

Children and their parents, as well as a number of Hollister police officers took the opportunity to get Chief Westrick more than a little wet in the dunk tank. After three successful dunkings in the frigid water, the chief was ready to hand over the honor to someone else.


John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]