Families invited to trick-or-treat with Cops & Goblins

This Halloween, the Ocean View Police Department is offering a family-friendly trick-or-treating festival.

The second annual Cops & Goblins Halloween Festival will take place this Sunday, Oct. 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. in John West Park. Families who attend can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce houses, pumpkin decorating and more.

“There are a lot of different activities,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “We held the inaugural event last year. The goal was to have that first event and gauge the interest. What we found after we did that after-action review of that event was it was very well received. We had a number of emails, telephone calls from the public, people who participated in the event who thanked us for putting it on. Parents were appreciative of having something for the kids to do around Halloween.”

At this year’s event, Taco Taco and Hocker’s BBQ will be selling food, and a wide variety of vendors will be set up throughout the park from which kids can trick-or treat.

“We’ll have a lot of kids, a lot of candy and a lot of energy. We’re going to have some different activities to help the kids burn off some of the energy,” McLaughlin said.

A costume contest will be held for those 12 or younger, with prizes awarded for Best Cop, Best Goblin and Best Overall Costume.

“The costume contest was a big hit last year,” he noted.

Cops & Goblins is one of many community service projects the Ocean View Police Department organizes.

“We have ongoing initiatives to enhance and maintain relationships with the community,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of different things over the years, but one of the things we kept hearing from the public was more activities were needed for the youth in the community.

“So we wanted to do something in the fall, and at the same time we wanted to center it around the kids in the community and developing positive relationships with the kids. Thus we came up with the idea for this initiative, Cops & Goblins.”

McLaughlin said the public was so positive about last year’s event that his department decided to make it an annual event.

“I can see it becoming one of our signature events, and we expect it to be bigger and better this year.”

Having a good working relationship with the public is vital, said McLaughlin, and community outreach is essential.

“When we talk about securing our community, maintaining a safe environment here in Ocean View, the police are only part of the equation — the public is the other part. We’ve got to have good cooperation. We only have nine officers; we can’t be everywhere all the time. Especially in these smaller communities, we rely heavily on the support we receive from the public. It’s paramount to our operations here to have good working relationships with the public.

“We’re in a time period in this country where in some communities, the relationship between the police and the public are strained. We certainly cherish our relationships here — the fact that we have a good relationship with the public… Plus, quite frankly, we enjoy it, too. It’s as much fun for us as it is for them. We like participating in these community policing activities. They’re fun. We take a lot of personal enjoyment out of these programs.”

McLaughlin said he hopes families will attend the Sunday event to take part in a safe, fall-themed festival fit for the whole family.

“It should be a fun time. We’re going to keep our fingers crossed for good weather. Sadly, a lot of the area’s fall-related events have been washed out in the last couple weekends,” he said. “It should be fun. We’re really looking forward to it.”

For more information, contact the Ocean View Police Department at (302) 539-1111.