Families spend a night out with Tustin Police

By Daniel Langhorne

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, hundreds of people attended the Tustin Police Department’s Annual National Night Out at the District at Tustin Legacy.

National Night Out, an event to promote police-community partnerships, is celebrated in cities, towns and communities all across the United States. It is an opportunity to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. This year marked Tustin’s 10th anniversary of hosting a National Night Out event.

Maaikee Kiyoe Pronda, first runner-up Miss Tustin 2017, sings the National Anthem with the Tustin PD Color Guard in front of her at the start of Tustin PD’s National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Mayor Allan Bernstein read a proclamation from the Tustin City Council commemorating the day and thanking the city’s first responders for keeping the community safe.

“This gives notice to all criminals that the citizens of Tustin are united and that they should stay out of our community,” Bernstein said.

The Tustin PD Color Guard presents the colors during National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Attendees were entertained with cover songs performed by students from School of Rock Tustin and dancers from the Tustin Dance Center. Miss Tustin Emma Foss treated the crowd to a speed-painting demonstration that ended with a glitter-filled reveal of a portrait of Princess Leia.

A highlight of the evening was a demonstration by Officers Eric Kent and Chuck Mitchell and their respective police K9s, Riggs and Kingsley. An aspiring K9 handler wearing a padded bite suit played a fleeing suspect for both dogs, who eagerly latched onto his arm with their tails wagging.

Sebastian Ataei, 7, of Tustin, left, and his sister, Sophia, 10, take turns trying to lift a battering ram. Tustin PD Officer Michael Carter is behind them.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Later that night, K9 Riggs was just as happy rolled over onto his back to accept belly rubs and pose for photos with attendees.

Among the booths manned by local merchants, nonprofits and public safety agencies, children waited in line to have their photo taken in front of an Orange County Fire Authority engine and receive a plastic fireman’s helmet.

Tustin PD Officer Eric Kent, left, with his K9 partner, Riggs, stands with Tustin PD Officer Chuck Mitchell and his K9 partner, Kingsley, at the start of a demonstration during National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Godfrey Hom of Irvine watched his son, Shane, ogle at the fire engine at Tuesday’s event.

“At home he has all his cars and loves to play cops and firemen,” Hom said. “We love every chance we get to support our local firefighters and police.”

Those who attended found no shortage of activities.

Tustin PD Officer Chuck Mitchell holds onto his K9 partner, Kingsley, during a demonstration during Tustin PD’s National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The U.S. Army’s 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion also brought two Humvees for members of the public to sit in. Local children also enjoyed a bounce house, a balloon artist, and winning candy and books off a prize wheel from the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin.

In an update on the department’s crime-fighting efforts, Sgt. Ryan Coe talked about the success of reducing calls for service at Peppertree Park as part of Project 365.

Tustin PD Officer Eric Kent walks Riggs back after the K9 demonstration.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The National Night Out initiative encourages communities to identify a public safety issue and collaborate year-round with local enforcement to solve it. Tustin Police identified Peppertree Park as a crime trend area and with the community’s involvement has been able to reduce the number of calls for service from 38 to eight per month since September 2016.

Police Services Office Megan Evans said National Night Out is an important event because it allows people to get to know their neighbors in a face-to-face setting. It also presents a special opportunity for community members, especially children, to see police officers as friendly and approachable, Evans said. Typically, the public meets officers when they’ve called for help, which doesn’t allow for a laid-back interaction.

“This is a way to meet officers outside of that experience,” Evans said.

Tustin PD Explorer Abigail Campos gives some words of encouragement as 9-year-old Rosie Zemanek of Tustin plays a mix and match game for prizes with her mom, Lisa, behind her.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin PD Explorer Zach Walker hands over a few bean bags to 5-year-old Jadyden Honeycutt of Tustin for beanbag tick-tack-tow, one of the games set up for kids during Tustin PD’s National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Miss Tustin 2017 Emma Foss entertains the crowd gathered for Tustin PD’s National Night Out with a show of speed painting.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

After finishing her speed painting with black paint on a black canvas, Emma Foss, Miss Tustin 2017, throws two cups of silver dust onto the wet paint to reveal the portrait.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

After throwing silver dust onto her speed painting, Miss Tustin 2017 Emma Foss’ portrait of Princes Leia is revealed.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Crowds attend Tustin PD’s National Night Out at The District at Tustin Legacy.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Mayor Dr. Allan Bernstein presents Tustin Police Chief Charles Celano with a city proclamation to the Tustin Police Department recognizing National Night Out 2017.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The Minuets, a group from the Tustin Dance Center, perform under a setting sun.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Miss Tustin 2017 (and Miss Tustin 2014) Emma Foss, left, and Maaikee Kiyoe Pronda, first runner-up Miss Tustin 2017, help out with raffle drawings during Tustin PD’s National Night Out. 
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Girls from the Tustin Dance Center perform at Tustin PD’s National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Caroline Mills, 12, of Tustin, performs a solo dance representing the Tustin Dance Center during National Night Out.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The School of Rock, a local rock band, entertains the crowd during Tustin PD’s National Night Out at The District at Tustin Legacy.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC