OCSD Bomb Squad makes beeping eggs for visually-impaired children at Newport Dunes Easter egg hunt

By Jessica Peralta

Seventy children from the Blind Children’s Learning Center spent the Friday morning of Easter weekend hunting for beeping eggs built by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad.

“It’s perfect,” said Jay Livelo, who attended the event with his 2 1/2-year-old son, Gavin, a student at the Santa Ana-based school, and his wife, Tracie. “The Bomb Squad – it’s so cool.”

Seven-year-old Aeryn of the Blind Children’s Learning Center reaches over to pet Hulk, a German Wirehaired Pointer OCSD K9, with his handler, OCSD Deputy Andre Raglin, during an Easter egg hunt at Newport Dunes. Behind them is Deputy John Shedd.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

This is the third year the sheriff’s department has partnered with the school for the Easter egg hunt, for which 48 colorful 2-inch plastic eggs were placed in a grassy area of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach for the children to find.

The Bomb Squad, officially known as the Hazardous Devices Section and including 18 bomb technicians, built the eggs from kits provided by the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Bomb Squad Sgt. Randy Sterett said. The kits contain the plastic eggs, wires, and buzzers.

“And we have bomb techs and reserves put them together,” Sterett said.

Seven-year-old Aeryn of the Blind Children’s Learning Center gets a little help as she climbs one of the Newport Dunes whales after the Easter egg hunt.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

He said National Charity League volunteers helped place the eggs for the children to hunt. The children searched for the eggs in small groups based on their age. Each child was accompanied by an adult parent or volunteer. Many were holding more than one egg.

“They’ll try to get as many as they can,” he said.

Children also had the chance to meet some of the Bomb Squad members, three of which brought their Bomb Squad dogs.

Sterett said the bomb technicians enjoy participating in the event, and the team also attends the students’ graduation ceremonies.

“We get to see these kids year after year, grow up,” he said.

OCSD Reserve Deputy Rick Edgmon (a former OCSD captain) hides eggs at Newport Dunes for kids from the Blind Children’s Learning Center. The plastic eggs are designed to beep to make them easier for the kids to locate.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Once the event is over, the school gets to keep the beeping eggs for use as training aids.

“We can use them for tools in classrooms,” said Carolyn Baker, director of development for the Blind Children’s Learning Center.

And if they have any extras, they can give the eggs to parents to use at home. She said they are great tactile teaching aids for the visually-impaired and blind students at the school. She added that the event itself is a good way to get the kids outdoors and interacting with their environment.

“And the sheriffs have just been incredible partners,” she said. “You can see the kids just love it.”

Three-year-old Andrew, bottom left, of the Blind Children’s Learning Center gets close to Marco, an Explosive Detection K9 with the OCSD, as OCSD Investigator Kevin Nadeau holds on during a visit to Newport Dunes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The students received an Easter basket filled with candy and toys donated by the AT&T Pioneers volunteer organization. The Easter bunny also made an appearance for some photo opportunities. The event ended with a beachfront picnic provided by Newport Dunes’ Back Bay Bistro.

“It kind of normalizes them in the sense that they can still do an Easter egg hunt,” Jay Livelo said of the event. “We can make these kids at least for one day feel like regular kids.”

OCSD Deputy John Shedd leans over to look at the eggs found by William, 6, as he and Tori Brzezinski, an assistant teacher at the Blind Children’s Learning Center, right, hunt for Easter eggs at Newport Dunes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Three-year-old Isaiah gets close to Ng, a Fox Red Lab explosive detection dog with the OCSD, with the help of Ng’s handler, OCSD Investigator Chris Jensen.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

One-year-old Thiago gets help finding beeping eggs.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Five-year-old Gianraul of the Blind Children’s Learning Center and his mother, Denise Olivo, visit with Ng, a Fox Red Lab explosive detection dog with the OCSD and his handler, OCSD Investigator Chris Jensen.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies help kids during the Easter egg hunt at Newport Dunes. Deputy Rick Edgmon, from left; Deputy John Shedd; Deputy Andre Raglin and his K9 partner, Hulk; Sgt. Randall Sterett; and Investigator Chris Jensen with his K9 partner, Ng.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC