When the Tustin Police Department says, “C’mon over,” the community does just that, in droves.
And they’re not disappointed.
The thousands who turned out for the Tustin Police Department’s 22nd annual Open House on June 16 were treated like welcome guests by an agency that enjoys a close bond with its citizens.
Attendees got to see, feel, and learn about the equipment used by their police department and chow down on free hot dogs grilled by the officers themselves.
Crowds packed the sidewalk along Centennial Way to watch demonstrations by the Irvine/Tustin SWAT team.
They were wowed by the power and agility of Tustin Police Department’s K9s.
And while thousands of visitors filtered through the open house throughout the day, the event still had an intimate feel, Linda Harrison of Huntington Beach said.
“The officers know a lot of the community,” Harrison said. “I’m noticing the officers are interacting with the little kids and the little kids are high-fiving.”
The open house also featured educational guided tours of the police department, which included stops in the detective bureau, records unit, communications unit, booking area, and many other sections of the department.
“I got to see everything that I’ve been wanting to see,” said Isiah Gonzalez, 11, who enjoyed the open house with his mom, Jeymie, and brothers Xavier, 8, and Jeremy, 9. “I loved it.”
Meeting an actual detective was one of Isiah’s favorite parts, but he did express one minor complaint.
“They are harder to talk to because they are always busy,” Isiah said.
Several community groups were also on hand, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Orange County Animal Care, and the Orange County Fire Authority.
Lt. John Strain, who helped organize the event, said the open house gives the department a chance to show appreciation to a community that appreciates its police force.
Strain also acknowledged the hard work of the department’s community service unit. Police Services Officers Adriana Tokar, Megan Evens, and Marilyn Packer have been responsible for the preliminary planning and day-of execution of this event for the past few years. Although the event is only four hours long, the process of preparation and planning is several months long and a lot of hard work, but Tokar, Evens, and Packer somehow make it look easy and each year they seem to raise it to a higher level, Strain stated.
“It’s basically a way for us to open our doors to the community and give people the opportunity to take a look at what we do day to day,” Strain said. “Every year it gets a little bigger.”
See photos and a story from last year’s Tustin Police Department open house here.