The Sparks Police Department continued its "Don't Trick, We'll Treat" program during early evening Halloween where children received candy from Sparks Police officers looking to interact with children and families in various neighborhoods of the Rail City.
Supplied with candy from six local grocery businesses, about 10 patrol cars attempted to stick out in their "beat areas" to help children feel safe and comfortable in neighborhoods, according to Lt. Pete Krall.
"I think it was very well received," Krall said Friday afternoon. "I think the community response was very positive. I think the parents enjoyed it and the officers I spoke to today enjoyed it as well."
Krall said any opportunity to have "positive contact" with young children is taken advantage of by the local units hoping to instill a sense of trust in the police force. A night like Halloween brings hundreds of children out and Krall said the program ultimately serves them, but said the officers had just as much fun.
"Our motto is 'Where community comes first' and we want to live up to that," Krall said. "We want the kids to know they can trust us and we want to talk to them other than times when they have done something they shouldn't have. If they don't trust us, they won't report things to us and that creates bad barriers that we cannot afford in the community.
"We want them to know that we are people too and that they can speak to us in a positive manner. Police can sometimes be the scary people with badges and other scary things, but if we can break that barrier down a little bit, we want to seize those opportunities every time. Without that trust there is no community."
Krall added that it was important to teach children to be comfortable around police officers early and continue instilling those values year after year.
The contribution from Sparks businesses, which included Walmart, Target, Raley's, K-Mart, Walgreen's and Safeway, made the Don't Trick, We'll Treat program a major success, according to Krall. He said without the donations there would not be a program and it proved to be a "true community effort." He said SPD was "very grateful" for the help.
"It is one of those opportunities where we get to have a little fun with what we do," Krall said in summation. "We appreciate the opportunity to do it and to interact with the community in such a positive and fun way. We have been busy lately and we get plenty of the other (negative) stuff we have to deal with. It is nice to throw some fun in there for a night."