The Galt Police Department on Aug. 3 invited the city to celebrate National Night Out, raising awareness of the role of law enforcement in the community.

Lt. Brian Kalinowski said it was “amazing” to bring the event back after the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the department to cancel last year’s edition. More than one person was happy to talk with people in real life instead of over videoconference.

“It’s awesome to be out here, and I know that staff appreciates being out here,” Kalinowski said.

The evening’s festivities were spread out across the city, at Meadowview Park, the Galt Sports Complex and Galt Community Park. The police staff and some attendees formed a motorcade that stopped for a time at each location.

Local businesses and organizations, as well law enforcement and military groups, set up booths where they handed out information or food. Firefighters from the Cosumnes Fire Department were also on hand. People passed the time with bowling, cornhole and other games, or they admired classic cars.

At Meadowview Park, barbers from Cutting Edge Barbershop and Next Generation Barbershop gave children free back-to-school haircuts, and backpacks and other school supplies were available.

California parole agent Joaquin “Jack” Lopez spoke to attendees at Meadowview, just down the street from where he grew up. He said he and other officers were fortunate to serve in the place where they had spent their childhoods.

“And here we are, giving back to our community,” he said. He spoke about the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which includes parole officers, saying, “The sky’s the limit. A kid from Galt can go as high as he wants to in this department.”

Galt City Manager Lorenzo Hines said it was “great to see the neighborhood come out. It’s good to see the interaction with the PD and city staff and our citizens. It’s just a very good time — a lot of good energy.”

Other city officials in attendance included City Council members Rich Lozano and Jay Vandenburg, Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu and Mayor Shawn Farmer.

While the pandemic has presented a challenge, Kalinowski said the department’s emphasis on involvement in the community makes National Night Out especially important.

“It’s been a long journey with this COVID. Obviously, there’s still a battle that we have, but this is why individually we’re involved in law enforcement — to give back to the community and be involved in the community, and so this is the pinnacle event for the department.”