Dana Point Police Services celebrates Halloween early with community outreach

By Jessica Peralta

Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, Spider Man and many other costume favorites walked through the Dana Point City Hall parking lot Oct. 24 trick-or-treating while also getting to know their local neighborhood deputies.

Dana Point Police Services held its first Trunk Or Treat event, from 5 to 7 p.m., where families came out for some treats and to learn about the various Orange County Sheriff’s Department resources that serve the Dana Point community. Among them were OCSD bloodhounds, bomb squad and patrol K9s, as well as a few members of the mounted unit.

Kids and OCSD Dana Point Police Services personnel gather for a group photo during the costume contest at the Trunk or Treat event at Dana Point City Hall on Oct. 24.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“We wanted to do something to showcase all of our department resources to the community – and who doesn’t love Halloween?” said Crime Prevention Specialist Jill Jackson, who coordinated the event.

Other OCSD members who came out were from the Hazardous Materials Unit, Harbor Patrol – with a boat available for viewing – and motor officers. Orange County Fire Authority firefighters also were out mingling with the community.

Bobby Viczorek, 9, and his brother, Jack, 6, right, children of Dana Point Mayor Richard Viczorek, get a chance to pet Cinder, an OCSD K9, with her handler, Reserve Capt. Chuck Williams. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“I love Halloween,” said Jackson, who arrived dressed as a Chia Pet. “What better a time of year to showcase our department resources than now?”

Kids and their parents made their way from one section of the parking lot to the next, meeting the working dogs and horses, checking out the Harbor Patrol boat, talking to officers and stopping over for some free barbecue provided by VFW Post 9934.

Valentina Mendez, 3, of Aliso Viejo talks to Lt. Margie Sheehan, Dana Point Chief of Police Services for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, during the OCSD’s Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Many of them also got to meet OCSD Lt. Margie Sheehan, chief of Police Services for Dana Point – but on this night, Elsa, from the popular animated film, “Frozen.” Dressed in a sparkly, light blue gown, much resembling the character’s ensemble, she roamed around meeting kids and their parents, and posing for photos.

“We decided that we wanted to have an event that we could actually get to know our residents on a more personal level,” she said.

Quinn Hutchison, 2, of Dana Point gets to try out a stationary OCSD six-wheel ATV at the Trunk or Treat event at Dana Point City Hall.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Sheehan, who has been serving the area as chief of police services for the past six months, said it’s good to have events like these where members of law enforcement and the community can meet under happy circumstances. Along those lines, the OCSD recently hosted a Coffee with a Cop event, and partnered to help with a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.

With their treat bags in tow, the kids grabbed goodies and munched on hotdogs while they waited for the costume contest.

Sarah Tidwell, 1, of Rancho Santa Margarita reaches over for some Halloween candy with the help of Faith Woodward, who’s been an OCSD explorer for four years. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Amber Nicholas, of Dana Point, was there with her 5- and 8-year-olds. She said she was happy that kids and parents got to come out and meet the local deputies in a fun atmosphere, as well as see all the resources at their disposal.

“It’s fantastic to see that they’re prepared if there were to be an emergency,” Nicholas said.

OCSD Dep. Investigator Merl Mireles hands out Halloween candy to 6-year-old Angel Quiroga of Dana Point as he also shows kids the OCSD’s remote robots.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Toward the end of the event, all the children lined up for the costume contest.

The winners?

A young girl dressed as a SWAT officer and a young boy dressed as a red dragon.

Lt. Margie Sheehan, Dana Point Chief of Police Services for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, dresses up as Princess Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” as she helps organize the kids’ costume contest during the OCSD’s Trunk or Treat event at Dana Point City Hall.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Kids attending the Trunk or Treat event in Dana Point get to tour an OCSD harbor patrol boat on display.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

OCSD Sgt. Jonathan Daruvala gets on his knees as he hands out Halloween candy to Gingerbread Man Austin Miller, 7, and Willow Brooks, 3, both of Dana Point, at the OCSD’s Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

OCSD Sgt. Jonathan Daruvala with event organizer Jill Jackson, crime prevention specialist for Dana Point Police Services, at the first-annual OCSD Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Sarah Tidwell, 1 1/2 years old, shows Doc, an OCSD horse, her little pink hat as Dep. Robert Denney and Sgt. Dee Dee Kurimay look on at the OCSD’s Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge