The Tustin Police Department holds a longstanding tradition of opening its doors to the public and hosting an annual open house.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the department to cancel last year’s event, and so organizers this year were eager to hold the annual open house — this time in a virtual format.
“I am happy to announce that today I am here to kick off the 2021 event where attendees can experience demonstrations and various booths with our great police department,” Tustin Mayor Letitia Clark said.
The event went live online on June 5, 2021, beginning with a welcome message from Clark and Tustin Police Department Chief Stu Greenberg.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank all of the men and women of the Tustin Police Department who have come to work seven days a week, 365 days a year, and in many ways put their lives on hold to help us navigate through the national emergencies we have been facing and still face today,” Greenberg said.
The open house featured a series of videos highlighting all the traditional elements of the annual event, and then some. Opening ceremonies included a presentation by the Honor Guard of the National Anthem, followed by a series of Q & A sessions with the K9 Unit, Motor Unit, and SWAT team.
The event, as of June 14, had more than 1,700 site visits, with nearly 7,000 page views for booths and items on the website, and nearly 300 downloads, said Police Services Officer Jennifer Dlugitch.
This year’s open house also offers a unique ability to visit 22 virtual “booths,” each one serving a different purpose to get to know the Tustin Police Department. The booths include “Tour of the PD”, “Sit-Along with Dispatch,” “Citizens Academy,” “Kids Zone” and much more.
The most-watched videos as of mid-June were the Day in the Life of an Officer, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and the Tour of the PD, Dlugitch said.
Community feedback has been positive, with many who regularly attend the annual in-person event thanking the department for holding the virtual open house event, Dlugitch said.
Officer Taylor Ryan took viewers into a day in the life of the K9 Unit with his partner, K9 Ragnar, a locating and narcotics dog.
“He comes home with me every day, he socializes with my family, he’s in my backyard and socializes with me so that off duty I can work on other things like obedience and other things that are important to a dog,” Ryan said. “We also just want to make sure that the dog has a good quality of life and enjoys himself every day.”
Ragnar works hard just like any officer.
“We train every week with our dogs for at least five hours. In addition to that, we train every month and certify every year,” Ryan said.
In the Motor Unit segment, Officer Michael McJunkin shared that he has been riding motorcycles for as long as he can remember and found his perfect fit at the Tustin Police Department.
“The motor position is one of those positions where you get to be out with the community all the time,” McJunkin said. “On top of doing traffic enforcement and DUI saturation checkpoints we get to engage with the community.”
Sgt. Gus Gonzalez took the audience into the SWAT unit with a Q&A that provided insight on tactical training and what type of officer is the best fit for the SWAT unit.
“We look for leaders in the organization. A SWAT candidate must be a leader and one of the guys who is performing to a high standard out on patrol or whatever assignment they have. Someone that is able to not only lead but follow, someone that is humble, somebody that maintains themselves in a good physical condition, is mentally stable, and somebody that is not going to quit,” Gonzalez said.
The Tustin Police Department hosted an engaging and insightful annual open house to provide connection, understanding, and foster a sense of community.