Tustin PD gives community a behind-the-scenes look at the department

By Jaimee Lynn Fletcher

When Tustin’s K-9 is chasing a suspect or the SWAT team is called out to respond to a high-risk situation the public usually doesn’t have a front-row seat.

But on Saturday, June 13, thousands from the community were in on the action.

Tustin Police held its 19th annual Open House for the community to give residents an inside look at what the department does daily to keep the community safe.

Officer Rene Barraza and his K-9 partner Bravo was a crowd favorite as he bounded after a Tustin Police Officer playing a suspect.

Officer Rene Barraza and his K-9 partner Bravo go after a “bad guy”, played by Tustin Police Officer Chuck Mitchell, during a K-9 demonstration for Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Rene Barraza and his K-9 partner Bravo go after a “bad guy”, played by Tustin Police Officer Chuck Mitchell, during a K-9 demonstration for Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Children were invited to test out some police equipment, including feeling the weight of a SWAT vest, sitting on a police motorcycle, and an interactive bicycle safety course.  Face painting and a treasure hunt were also a hit with the younger attendees.

Police held several demonstrations, including SWAT, Motorcycle Officers and K-9 Officers to showcase their skills and explain to the public how and when they might use them.

Tustin Police motorcycle officers put on a demonstration during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Police motorcycle officers put on a demonstration during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Families were even taken on a tour of the department to see everything from where 911 calls come in, to where detectives pore over their cases.

People taking a tour of Tustin Police Department headquarters walk by a crime lab display during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

People taking a tour of Tustin Police Department headquarters walk by a crime lab display during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Throughout the day, guests were not only entertained with exciting demonstrations and insightful information, but their appetites were also treated to hot dogs cooked by Police Department staff.

“I am very proud of the men and women of the Tustin Police Department, but I am also very appreciative of the support from the community,” said Police Chief Charles Celano. “I look forward to events like our Open House as a chance see our department and community come together for a very enjoyable day.”

Tustin Parking Control Officer Garrett Georgians helps 4-year-old Tyler Do of Tustin run through the Bike Safety Course during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Parking Control Officer Garrett Georgians helps 4-year-old Tyler Do of Tustin run through the Bike Safety Course during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A CHP helicopter takes off from the Tustin PD parking lot near the conclusion of Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A CHP helicopter takes off from the Tustin PD parking lot near the conclusion of Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Celano added several agencies and groups that often partner with Tustin also participated in the event to educate the community on the collaborative work that goes in to policing the city.

The Orange County Fire Authority, Irvine Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Department of Fish and Wildlife, were among the agencies represented.

And although the Open House is an opportunity for the public to go behind-the-scenes and learn about what police do every day, Celano said this event is just as important for police employees.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for us to interact with the community on a less formal level,” he said. “The interactions with the community are what makes Tustin PD so successful.”

Twelve-year-old Breanna Sauerwein tries on a SWAT vest with the help of her father, Tustin Police Officer Mark Sauerwein, during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Twelve-year-old Breanna Sauerwein tries on a SWAT vest with the help of her father, Tustin Police Officer Mark Sauerwein, during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Police Motorcycle Officer Ralph Casiello, front, helps put on a police motorcycle demonstration for the crowd gathered during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Police Motorcycle Officer Ralph Casiello, front, helps put on a police motorcycle demonstration for the crowd gathered during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Rene Barraza and his K-9 partner Bravo run through a obstacle course during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.  Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Rene Barraza and his K-9 partner Bravo run through a obstacle course during Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Police Officer Chuck Mitchell plays a suspect in a  SWAT demonstration at Tustin PD's 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tustin Police Officer Chuck Mitchell plays a suspect in a SWAT demonstration at Tustin PD’s 19th Annual Open House. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC