Building community


It couldn’t have been planned better.

The breeze off Greenwich Bay was cooling, the evening sun was shining and there wasn’t a shortage of parking.

The occasion, capped by fireworks that night, was the city’s annual National Night Out celebrated in Oakland Beach. The event for which Target is a major sponsor puts the spotlight on the Warwick Police Department and public safety personnel, bringing them in contact with neighborhood groups and residents.

Col. Stephen McCartney was impressed by the number and variety of organizations represented that provided information on their programs from tables and displays. He pointed to a car on a flatbed with a crushed roof. The message, he said, is not to text and drive.

“Stay away from social media while you’re on the road,” he advised.

McCartney said he gives “a lot of credit” to local groups for making the night a success. He called Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis “the driving force.” Travis heads the committee that plans the annual event.

Target volunteers in red T-shirts were plentiful, assisting with games, conducting a raffle and handing out prizes.

Pam Charpentier, manager of the Warwick Mall store, said she looks forward to the event.

“It’s really about building community,” she said, “I don’t have to make this up”

And there were lots of demonstrations by police and fire that kept people’s attention. What seemed to be a perfectly good Ford Taurus was cut up in a matter of minutes by a crew of three firefighters wielding the “Jaws of Life.” A rapt audience watched, with some questioning whether firefighters had picked the correct car for the demonstration. They had.


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