PA embraces National Night Out
Doug Angelle knows that Port Arthur has gained a less than favorable reputation over the years — something he is working to change.
“We want to get rid of the stigma that Port Arthur is just a slum,” said Angelle, a lifelong Port Arthur resident and president of the Port Arthur Neighborhood Action Council (PANAC).
One of the most effective ways Angelle has found to do this is participating in “National Night Out: America’s Night Out Against Crime,” a nationwide effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities and foster camaraderie between the community and law enforcement. On Thursday evening, parents from Port Arthur and beyond filled the parking lot of Target at Central Mall to meet local law enforcement, bounce up and down on a large inflatable pumpkin, and take a shot at winning door prizes provided by Target.
“You get to see new people, and different people you haven’t seen in awhile,” said Port Arthur resident Shenetha Alexander, who attends the event every year with her daughter, 6-year-old Christian Sallier. “And they always have plenty of food.”
Marcello Molfino, of Molfino’s Catering, has provided that food for the past nine years. As part of the Port Arthur Street Crimes Unit, Molfino looks forward to this event every year.
“This is one of the highlights of PANAC,” he said. “It’s the one night a year they’re visible and acknowledged for everything they do.”
Angelle emphasized the importance of a positive relationship between the community of Port Arthur and its police officers and firefighters. He added that normally the only encounters children have with law enforcement are negative.
“We want to show them the good side of law enforcement,” he said. “They need to come out here and see that there are people who do care, and that officers are not here to hurt you.”