This year’s National Night Out was a rip-roaring success as crowds gathered on Main Street, which was completely closed to road traffic, outside City Hall on Tuesday evening.

​​National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign designed to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in communities across the country.

Tourists and residents alike came along to learn more about the Santa Monica community and about how both the Police and Fire Departments operate. All that and great food plus a DJ who actually played really good tunes. Parents and children, equally, could sit on SMPD motorcycles, talk to the officers who fly the police drones, try on tactical armor, have mugshots taken in front of a lineup background, get locked up inside of a prisoner transport or “paddy wagon” or just jump around on a bouncy castle.

“This is one of our favorite evenings of the year where we get to really connect with so many aspects of our community,” said Police Chief Ramon Batista, adding, “It’s all about building and strengthening the relationship that we have with our community.

“There’s no better way to do it when we have all this cross section of every neighborhood represented here in downtown and it is an amazing night for us. We love it. This is only my second year and it certainly looks as vibrant and as energetic as it was last year, if not better. It looks great. It’s beautiful.”

Officers and staff from the Santa Monica Animal Shelter came along as did both Mayor Pro Tempore Lana Negrete and Mayor Gleam Davis.

“It seems bigger [than last year’s event] to me, but I think the most important thing is everyone’s out here and having fun. And especially the kids, it’s such a great event for kids not only to interact with police and fire and other city departments, but they get to see our mounted patrol, they get to visit our animal shelter and meet some of the dogs there that are available for adoption and really learn about who the people in the city are that can help them. And I think that’s important,” Davis said.

“It’s such a fantastic event, it’s really great to see all our community members out here on a beautiful Santa Monica night. Perfect weather. Fantastic event, couldn’t really ask for more,” Fire Department Chief Danny Alvarez said. “Last year there was a really good turnout too and, but I think there’s probably more people here tonight.”

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.