BBQ party

Elk Grove City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen and Elk Grove Police Chief Bobby Davis at the debut BBQ in the Beat party in Nottoli Park on June 25.

Elk Grove Police Chief Bobby Davis spent much of his Saturday morning flipping burgers on his department’s new, custom-decorated grill trailer at Nottoli Park. Behind him, neighbors curiously viewed the police’s armored SWAT vehicle and a table display of police surveillance drones. Visitors were also invited to sit on police motorcycles, tour the police’s Mobile Command Center, and try on a heavy SWAT team helmet and tactical vest.

Neighbor Bobby Shah wore about 30 pounds of SWAT gear and he laughed when he estimated that the helmet weighed at least four pounds. He brought his children to the party where they learned about police technologies. Two SWAT officers answered questions near their team’s BearCat vehicle, which is used for critical incidents such as hostage situations.

“I have young kids and so they get really good inspiration from this kind of thing,” Shah said. “These guys like technology a lot, they’re always playing video games - they see this real thing and sometimes they like it and go for it.”

This June 25 gathering was the kickoff for the Elk Grove police’s “BBQ in the Beat,” which is a series of barbecue parties that will be held in each of the police’s patrol areas this summer. They want to interact with more community members after two long years of public events canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic. These parties will be similar to the police’s “Coffee with a Cop” gatherings. The first party was held in the Beat 1 area, which covers the Laguna West, Lakeside, and Stonelake areas.

“This gives us the ability to connect at times that we often don’t get to,” Davis told the Citizen during a cooking break. “When it comes to food - breaking bread and having organic conversations are exactly what we want.”

During lunch, visitors Alice Lam and Eddie Li said they moved to Elk Grove from San Francisco two years ago.

“It feels like a school field trip to us,” Lam said about the party. “It’s at a local community park, there’s food, there are families around, and they get to go on the vehicles, which they normally don’t get to do.”

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen along with Elk Grove City Council members Darren Suen and Stephanie Nguyen visited the party. The mayor joked about being in a “Terminator” movie when she tried on SWAT gear.

“Our department does a great job connecting with the community, and this is just one of those opportunities where our residents can come out, meet our law enforcement and our firefighters, and establish that great relationship,” Singh-Allen told the Citizen.

The Cosumnes Fire Department parked a fire engine at the Nottoli Park party for visitors to see. Cosumnes Deputy Fire Chief Dan Quiggle said that his staff will join more BBQ in the Beat parties this summer.

“Every day, the fire department responds on calls with the police department when the community needs us, and so the police department is out here doing community events and we’re out here to support them,” he said.

Elk Grove police spokesperson, Sgt. Jason Jimenez said that his staff created the idea of the party series before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s no agenda, it’s simply us out here engaging as much as possible and having a good time while doing it,” he said.

The Elk Grove police plan to have their next BBQ in the Beat party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 in the Laguna area. This event’s park location has not been announced, as of press time. Visit their website, www.ElkGrovePD.org for announcements.