For Sheridan Hjorth, it was all about free popsicles.
Her brother, Alexander, liked exploring.
And rounding out the set of 10-year-old triplets was Matthew, who enjoyed getting close-up looks at the police vehicles and talking to the officers.
“I just like asking questions,” said Matthew, who was among dozens of residents who mingled with Tustin Police officers and civilian personnel at Peppertree Park on March 18.
The outreach event, which featured face painting, a book giveaway, free popsicles, police and fire vehicles and a fingerprinting station, took place as part of the city’s efforts to partner with the community to help address any issues, identify any criminal concerns, and to simply answer any questions from the community.
In the past there have been a few issues at the park with subjects loitering and creating an undesirable destination for families or residents wanting to enjoy a day at the park. Recently park restrooms have been repaired and painted and more spruce-ups are planned for the coming months.
There also has been more of a police presence in the park.
“We do this in areas where we are addressing quality-of-life issues,” said Megan Evans, police services officer (PSO). “We’re kind of taking the park back.”
Evans, along with Police Services Officers Adriana Tokar and Marilyn Packer, helped plan the event.
Officers, Explorers, fire personnel and the Parks & Recreation Department all participated.
“I think this is great,” said Star Hjorth, the triplets’ mom. “My favorite part was the fingerprinting station. It gave me an opportunity to have my children protected.”
Tustin plans to submit the Peppertree Park project to Project 365, a National Night Out initiative that tasks communities with improving the quality of life in a specific area of town.
The park at First and B Streets encompasses a softball diamond, bocce ball courts, horseshoe pit, picnic tables and a playground, and hosts Summer Concerts in the Park and other community events.
Resident Tom Alford likes taking his granddaughters, Avery and Reese, who are 6 and 3, respectively, to the park playground.
Alford said the community outreach by the police is welcome and acknowledged that the presence of transients in the park can be a bit intimidating to children.
“It’s great to see this,” Alford said. “Getting kids to see the police as friendly and nice … I think it’s a good thing.”