Tuckahoe residents gathered at Parkway Oval on Saturday to celebrate the Tuckahoe Police Department’s 8th annual Community Day.
The event was established nearly a decade ago to allow residents to interact with police officers in a friendly, enjoyable atmosphere. Part of Saturday’s event also was devoted to educating the public, as child safety seat technicians installed and inspected car seats and officers taught children about bicycle safety. Officers Andrew Zirolnik and Chris Santiago were on hand to secure helmets and guide children through a bicycle safety obstacle course.
"We want to make sure no one gets hurt today or while you are riding through the community, so please wear your helmets," Zirolnik told the children as they waited patiently to proceed through the obstacle course.
The children had an extra special incentive. If they participated and completed the obstacle course, they could enter a free raffle for a brand new bicycle.
The department’s Youth Explorers were on hand to help Tuckahoe Police with bicycle safety registration, helmet fittings, the obstacle course and the home run derby.
This year, the Youth Explorer Post #2118 of Mt. Vernon, NY joined the Tuckahoe Youth Explorer Cadet Post to help with the event. Detective Edward Johnson of the Mt. Vernon Police Department and an advisor for Youth Explorer Post #2118 said his group was glad to be a part of Community Day.
“It’s a beautiful thing when the explorer posts can get together and collaborate to make a community event like this more successful. This is our first year partnering with Tuckahoe. I believe as this expands there will be more units participating as well,” Johnson said.
Local notables such as former Tuckahoe Trustee Clare Gorman and the Hon. Vito Pinto, the head of two agencies in County Executive Rob Astorino’s administration, attended the festivities. Tuckahoe Trustee Greg Luisi served as MC for kickball and softball games between the Blue Bombers vs. the Orange Crush.
Lt. Margaret Belles, the event’s organizer and head of youth services at the department, thanked the community and Chief John Constanzo for their role in putting on the event.
“This day would not be possible without the support of The Community Fund of Tuckahoe, Eastchester, and Bronxville, as they have been so generous. I have to thank Chief John Constanzo for his support because without him none of this would be possible,” she said.
Chief Constanzo expressed gratitude to his officers and said it was important for the community to interact with officers in a different way.
“It’s a great day. We have pretty much the whole police department out here on their own time. It’s a Saturday in June, the day before Father’s Day, and a lot of these guys, this is their only day off. They gave up their day to be here,” he said. “It’s important for the community to see the police officers in a different light, in a non-confrontational situation. They’re here to have fun with the youth. Hopefully the kids walk away with a good feeling.”